A mental health recovery plan is a written document, prepared by or for you, that helps you to recover from mental and/or substance use disorders, over the short and long term. It can also educate others about your problem and enable them to help you to recover from or avoid a relapse. It stipulates your specific needs and preferences under normal and crisis situations. The plan must be realistic and achievable.

We assist with recovery planning

We have the experience and outreach to help you with confidential advice and referrals to sources that offer recovery planning services.

Short and long term recovery plans

Recovery planning for mental and substance use disorders refers to a combination of two related elements. One is the immediate recovery technique and personalised treatment plan that a therapist designs for a patient. The other element is the more comprehensive long-term recovery plan that patients must follow afterwards (post-treatment), including contingency plans for coping with the pressures of daily life.

Recovery plans are comprehensive guides

A post-treatment recovery plan includes details of your disorders, lists of all activities, interests and hobbies you must pursue to stay healthy, known relapse triggers, early warning signs and action plans to counteract them, and defined emergency options for crises and relapses. It also outlines your health history, details of health practitioners, types of treatment and the treatment facilities that you prefer.

Recovery plans include broader visions

A recovery plan can include relationship, career and financial goals, as well as provision for domestic responsibilities, such as the caretaking of partners, spouses, children and pets during times of emotional crises. It can identify values dear to you and set worthwhile goals that you want to achieve. The plan can be supplemented with a daily or weekly diary of your thoughts, feelings, activities and experiences.

Recovery planning is more than talk

Emotional factors often activate unhealthy behaviour and substance use disorders. The underlying dysfunctions that cause it can usually be healed with treatment, but many patients remain vulnerable to relapses. If you are sensitive to chronic mental stressors you should draw up a personal recovery plan, enlist a trustworthy helper or group and share your plan with them.

The reason for compiling a personal recovery plan, is to use it as a guide to measure your progress, avoid being overwhelmed by problems and, if it does overwhelm you and you need assistance, you want your helpers to have access to detailed written information about your disorder, as well as the recovery plan and options they should consider.

A comprehensive recovery plan provides for the prevention of relapses. This includes a list of methods to ensure the maintenance of a healthy state of wellness, the early detection of problematic symptoms and the steps required to counteract it. Constant vigilance empowers you to a large extent. However, emotions are complex forces that can sneak into our lives without detection and/or suddenly overpower us.

Emotional anguish and substance use disorders can affect us to the extent that we simply do not have the capacity to discuss or explain it, let alone arrange for treatment. As such, your plan should ensure that your helpers know exactly what your personal recovery needs and preferences are, without having to subject you to interrogation when you are in distress or inadvertently committing you to situations that cause further anguish.

Apart from details about your disorders, the plan should also specify your medical insurance, health practitioners, the types of treatment and the names of treatment facilities that you prefer. Preparing such a document may seem daunting, but it can be done in consultation with a suitably qualified health practitioner.

Call us for help

Recovery is enhanced by the positive involvement of others. Therapists can draw up recovery plans for patients and those who assist them. If you have a chronic behaviour or substance use disorder, or experience recurring relapses, or do not know how to formulate an effective recovery plan, then phone us. We can provide advice and refer you to reliable sources for further assistance with individual recovery planning that fits your specific circumstances.

Disclaimer: Media publications about health matters provide general information intended for broad public audiences. Individuals are required to consult a suitably qualified health professional for personal health advice.