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Since being identified as the single most important aim of mental health services by both the 1999 Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health and the 2003 President’s New Freedom Commission, the notion of recovery has rapidly and broadly permeated the American mental health system. With roots extending back to the birth of psychiatry in the 18th Century, recovery should not be considered a passing fad or fancy. As its re-introduction is intended to bring about a fundamental transformation of mental health care, recovery also should not become simply a new word to be used in describing current practices.
But what, then, is “recovery” in relation to mental illness? And what implications does this concept have for transforming mental health practice to become “recovery-oriented”? To begin to answer these questions, and to promote the transformation of mental health care to a recovery-orientation, on October 1, 2009, the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Office of the Associate Director for Consumer Affairs, within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, contracted with Development Services Group, Inc. (DSG) to launch a 5-year Recovery to Practice Initiative. This initiative seeks to advance a recovery-oriented approach to care by developing, promoting, and disseminating training curricula on how to translate the concept of mental health recovery into practice and by providing a Recovery to Practice Recovery Resource Center for mental health professionals engaged in this work.
The Recovery to Practice Initiative centers on three complementary components: 1) Creating a RTP Recovery Resource Center for mental health professionals; 2) Creating and disseminating recovery-oriented training materials for each of the major mental health professions; and 3) Providing web-based and print materials, training, and technical assistance for professionals engaged in the transformation process. Based on these three major components, the RTP Initiative aims to foster a better understanding of recovery, recovery-oriented practices, and the roles of the various professions in promoting recovery.
To create the best training curricula and products possible, DSG has assembled an impressive team, including consumers with lived experience, the Annapolis Coalition, Mental Health America (MHA), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS). DSG also has assembled more than 40 consultants and a highly diverse national steering committee to guide the project.
If you would like to get more information or be included in the Recovery to Practice listserv, please email DSG, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org.