Recovery from serious mental illness is a new concept that has arisen from the stories of individuals that have been able to improve and achieve within their lives despite ongoing struggles with symptoms from serious psychiatric disorders. Recovery is an individual process and is about the ability to move forward with the changes that are needed due to ongoing symptoms.
For some individuals an experience with serious mental illness can lead to personal development and career changes. Often the struggle can develop a deeper understanding of life and purpose. Many well known individuals have successfully struggled with depression, bipolar and schizophrenia, and have achieved in society despite the challenges.
Recovery is made more difficult because of gaps in healthcare. Diagnosis with some psychiatric disorders can lead to stigma and discrimination. Research by Jarrett and colleagues has show that mental illness discrimination is very common and that most individuals in our local community are aware of scare campaigns by the media, denigrating jokes, avoidance of those that look odd and active denial of social, educational and healthcare services.
Recovery therefore is a difficult process which is made more challenging by the lack of support and discrimination within all systems of care. Recovery from mental illness usually involves some changes or limitations in a similar way to other health conditions like diabetes or heart disease. These changes can be difficult and this is where counselling can be helpful to turn lifestyle changes into life-long habits.
Recovery involves developing resilience to discrimination and stigma as well as to the symptoms of the disorder. Not only are there changes to be made, but also some people will need to take medication in addition to support from family, friends and from time to time professionals. Each person has a different life experience, different supports and is unique in every way. It is this combination of differences that makes the recovery journey unique for each person.
Persistence is one of the key factors in recovery. Many individuals with serious mental illnesses recover. If you have found this article on the net, you will find many others. Remember that some information is not well researched and may not give a well rounded view. Search some personal accounts, government and educational websites and organisations that focus on current issues. Overall you will gain a picture that will help you to seek the best kind of support given your situation. Improving your knowledge is a really great start to feeling more confident about your situation and will help you to support others. Mental illness affects every Australian either directly or through friends or family members.
For information regarding the Personal and Structural Discrimination Measure (PSDM) please contact Vivian Jarrett directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Vivian Jarrett, B Psych (hons), AMAPS, MAICD.
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- Jarrett, V., Wilson, K., & Conrad, C. (2009) IAPA conference, Gold Coast. The Development of a New Measure of Mental Illness Discrimination