Recovery From Mental Health Conditions

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2021 | Last updated: November 2021

Recovery or remission is often the goal of treatment for both physical and mental health conditions. Evidence shows that mental health conditions like depression can negatively impact the outcomes of many diseases. Though mental health is always important, it is especially vital for those with physical health conditions to address and manage.1

Recovery looks different for everyone. Exploring the key facts about recovery will help you understand yourself or your loved one better.

What is recovery?

Recovery is a process of change centered on health, home, purpose, and community. While many people think of recovery in terms of stopping a substance use disorder, it applies to all kinds of mental health conditions. While recovery looks different for everyone, there are parts of recovery that are common to everyone. Recovery is much more than decreasing symptoms or stopping a behavior. Recovery begins with you, but requires support from others.1

Knowledge and acceptance

Understanding your mental health helps you know what you need to do in order to be successful in recovery. Accepting that recovery is needed for your well-being is needed in order for you to move forward. This may take time and looks different for everyone.


Hope is at the center of the recovery process. People can and do overcome addiction, illness, and barriers to health. Hope may come from others in the form of support. However, hope for yourself is a driving force that helps you begin and continue the recovery process.1

You design your path

Your path to recovery will look different than anyone else’s. Recovery includes leading and choosing the help, support, and services needed for your well-being. You start the process, build on your strengths, and regain control over your life.1

Expect challenges along the way

Your path will not be a smooth, paved, straight road. Your process depends on many factors:

  • Needs
  • Strengths
  • Goals
  • Culture
  • Background
  • Coping ability

When you understand that you will be faced with challenges, it helps you stay on track. You will continue to grow and improve, despite possible setbacks. Resilience for you and for those around you is essential to successful recovery.1

Recovery impacts your whole life

Recovery is not simply stopping the symptoms of your mental health condition. Recovery includes your mind, body, spirit, and community. Because of this, many aspects must be addressed, including:1

  • Family
  • Housing
  • Self-care
  • Job and career
  • Faith
  • Spirituality
  • Social networks

Building your foundation

Leaving unhealthy behaviors and relationships behind and starting or fostering healthy ones is key. Surround yourself with people who encourage your recovery and believe in you. Your foundation for recovery will be built on your relationships with yourself and your friends, family, and community.1

Acknowledge and address trauma

Emotional trauma comes from experiencing something that is deeply stressful and overwhelms your ability to cope. Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes and is different from person to person. Recognizing, acknowledging, and addressing trauma is key to your recovery. Many therapies and treatments for mental health are based on healing from trauma.1

Finding courage

Taking the steps needed for recovery requires courage. Remember, you are not alone, and many others have recovered from mental health conditions. Finding your own courage and motivation may not be easy. This process involves developing a positive self-image and believing in yourself.1

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