KEY CONCEPTS TO RECOVERY
as derived from the Copeland Center’s ‘Wellness Recovery Action Plan’
The Copeland Foundation considered different types of people, from different backgrounds, in different work environments and lifestyles, all with varying diagnoses, and importantly, who all were able to recover from their respective mental illnesses. The Copeland Center compiled the following commonalities to the recovery process, which they have coined the ‘Wellness Recovery Action Plan.’
We understand the five concepts to follow may seem slightly cliché, or like something you have heard before; we actually felt the same way! However, we encourage you to take a deeper look and the five together, and sit with them for a little while, it may actually be quite helpful in your journey to recovery. This is our take on what they came up with:
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY Though it may sound it, this concept is not about self-care. The key concept of personal responsibility here is about understanding that you and only you are responsible for your wellness. Challenges in the world will happen, you don’t have control over that; however, you do have control over how they impact you. It is important to recognize this distinction, and take into account your role in how you move forward after a challenge. It is a mindset of accountability, and action.
EDUCATION This concept can be broken down into two lines: (1) Being proactive in seeking out information about mental health and ways to maintain your wellness; and (2) learning about yourself, who you are, what your triggers are, and generally prioritizing a sense of self. The idea here is understanding what exactly you need so that you can establish it for your recovery.
SELF-ADVOCACY This key concept recognizes that (in the least cliché terms possible) you are in the driver seat of your own life. You have the capacity to decide your limits, setting up your boundaries, and deciding to ask and assert what you need. Self-advocacy is about recognizing your worth, and being empowered to lead your own life.
SUPPORT This key concept recognizes that though you may be driving and navigating the car, when the tire pops, you may need a passenger alongside you. We are not islands, your recovery process must include other people, a community that knows you and is willing to be there. The challenge often with this concept is learning to ask and accept support when it is needed. This can be made simple when we breakdown support in separate parts: That is-support doesn’t necessarily mean someone who knows everything about you. Support can look like your neighbour who watches your kid while you go to therapy; support can be someone who helps you clean your home while you exercise. Finding support shouldn’t be a milestone to your recovery, but instead a stepping-stone to get there.
HOPE This key concept is the fuel that keeps your recovery going. You won’t always have hope, and that is okay. You can borrow hope. Sometimes it’s fine that you don’t believe that you will get better, your supporters do, and they can carry that hope alongside you.