COMMISSIONER’S POLICY STATEMENT NO. 83
PROMOTING A RECOVERY-ORIENTED SERVICE SYSTEM
Effective Date: September 16, 2002
The purpose of this policy is to formally designate the concept of “recovery” as the overarching goal of the service system operated and funded by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (“Department”). This action is consistent with the fact that the Department is a healthcare service agency. Thus, it is most appropriate that one should hope and expect that, as a result of active involvement with this healthcare system, they will be better able to manage their illness and improve the quality of their life.
The concept of recovery shall be the guiding principle and operational framework for the system of care provided by the partnership of state and private agencies and consumer-run services that comprise the Department’s healthcare system. Services within this system shall identify and build upon each recovering individual’s strengths and areas of health in addressing his or her needs. The environment for this system shall encourage hope and emphasize individual dignity and respect. As one of its foremost priorities, the Department shall promote recovery for persons at risk of, or who have psychiatric or substance use disorders by creating a recovery-oriented service system.
Recovery is a process rather than an event. Thus, the service system shall address the needs of people over time and across different levels of disability. Recovery principles shall be applied to the full range of engagement, intervention, treatment, rehabilitative and supportive services that a person may need. Recovery principles shall also be applied to health promotion and prevention services for those at risk of mental illness or of substance use disorders, especially those for who selected or indicated prevention strategies are appropriate.
The concept of recovery is embodied in the Recovery Core Values articulated by the addiction and mental health recovery communities in Connecticut. In keeping with this vision, and in partnership with the recovery communities, the Department shall create new and make necessary revisions to existing policies, procedures, programs, and services, and shall ensure that all new initiatives are consistent with a recovery-oriented service system. Finally, the Department shall ensure that future strategic planning and resource development efforts build
upon existing strengths and continue to move the Department in the direction of promoting recovery as a core concept. In so doing, we shall firmly embed the language, spirit, and culture of recovery throughout the system of services, in our interactions with one another and with those persons and families who trust us with their care.
The recovery-oriented service system shall be notable for its quality. It thus will be marked by a high degree of accessibility, effectiveness in engaging and retaining persons in care such that they can achieve the highest degree of stability and recovery, and its effects shall be sustained rather than solely crisis- oriented or short-lived. To attain this level of quality, the recovery-oriented service system shall be age and gender appropriate, culturally competent, and attend to trauma and other factors known to impact on one’s recovery. Whenever possible, services shall be provided within the person’s own community setting, using the person’s natural supports. The service system shall help the person to achieve an improved sense of mastery over his or her condition and assist the person to regain a meaningful, constructive sense of membership in the community.
“Recovery” is a process of restoring or developing a positive and meaningful sense of identity apart from one’s condition and then rebuilding one’s life despite, or within the limitations imposed by that condition.
Recovery is a person-centered approach and it thus may vary from person to person and within the mental health and addiction communities. Just a few
Examples of recovery include: Returning to a healthy state evidenced by improving one’s mood and outlook on life following an episode of depression; Managing one’s illness such that the person can live independently and have meaningful employment and healthy social relationships; Reducing the painful effects of trauma through a process of healing; Attaining or restoring a desired state such as achieving sustained sobriety; Building on personal strengths to offset the adverse effects of a disability.
Thomas A. Kirk, Jr., Ph.D.
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