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About Recovery

Recovery is a process, beginning with diagnosis and eventually moving into successful management of your illness. Successful recovery involves learning about your illness and the treatments available, empowering yourself through the support of peers and family members, and finally moving to a point where you take action to manage your own illness by helping others.

Untreated Mental Illness: A Needless Human Tragedy

Severe mental illnesses are treatable disorders of the brain. Left untreated, however, they are among the most disabling and destructive illnesses known to humankind.

Millions of Americans struggling with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, know only too well the personal costs of these debilitating illnesses. Stigma, shame, discrimination, unemployment, homelessness, criminalization, social isolation, poverty, and premature death mark the lives of most individuals with the most severe and persistent mental illnesses.

Mental Illness Recovery: A Reality Within Our Grasp

The real tragedy of mental illness in this country is that we know how to put things right. We know how to give people back their lives, to give them back their self-respect, to help them become contributing members of our society. NAMI’s In Our Own Voice, a live presentation by consumers, offers living proof that recovery from mental illness is an ongoing reality.

Science has greatly expanded our understanding and treatment of severe mental illnesses. Once forgotten in the back wards of mental institutions, individuals with brain disorders have a real chance at reclaiming full, productive lives, but only if they have access to the treatments, services, and programs so vital to recovery.

  • Newer classes of medications can better treat individuals with severe mental illnesses and with far fewer side effects. Eighty percent of those suffering from bipolar disorder and 65 percent of those with major depression respond quickly to treatment; additionally, 60 percent of those with schizophrenia can be relieved of acute symptoms with proper medication.
  • Assertive community treatment, a proven model treatment program that provides round-the-clock support to individuals with the most severe and persistent mental illnesses, significantly reduces hospitalizations, incarceration, homelessness, and increases employment, decent housing and quality of life.
  • The involvement of consumers and family members in all aspects of planning, organizing, financing, and implementing service-delivery systems results in more responsiveness and accountability, and far fewer grievances.

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