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  • Writer's pictureCourtney A Meehan

Recovery in Mental Health

Written By: Courtney A Meehan, AAS & BAS

As Left Bank Recovery Services expands from offering only addiction treatment services to offering Mental Health counseling and medication management services, we thought that now would be a great time to discuss the RECOVERY portion of Left Bank Recovery Services name.

The word “recovery” in the field of health is most often associated with addiction and/or substance use disorder (SUD), as the process used to eliminate one’s dependence upon illicit substances. In fact, the word “recovery” can mean many things. Recovery can mean regaining control of something lost or stolen, taking possession of a fumbled football, or as Oxford Languages number one definition describes it: a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength (Oxford Languages, 2021).

Returning to a normal state of health and/or strength can include not only recovering from substance use but also may mean recovering from things such as an illness, sports injury or surgery. Returning to a normal state of mind includes a broad range of all that affects us as human beings; from the loss of a loved one, to recovering from panic attacks, processing past trauma and the easing of mental health symptoms.

So, what is recovery in mental health?

Mental Health America perhaps states what recovery in mental health looks like best:

Recovering from mental illness includes not only getting better, but achieving a full and satisfying life. Many people affirm that their journey to recovery has not been a straight, steady road. Rather there are ups and downs, new discoveries and setbacks. Over time, it is possible to look back and see, despite the halting progress and discouragements, how far we have really come. Each time we reach such a milestone, we see that we have recovered a piece of our lives and we draw new strength from it. The journey to full recovery takes time, but positive changes can happen all along the way (Mental Health America, 2021).

In 2010 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identified recovery as a primary goal for behavioral health care and develop a unified definition for recovery for both mental health and substance use disorder. And, in 2012 SAMHSA developed and released a working definition and set of principles for recovery.

SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery from mental disorders and/or substance use disorders is: A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012)

With SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery in mind, Left Bank Recovery Services sees the recovery piece of our name as the most important piece of the work that we do! Left Bank Recovery Services strives in assisting people through their recovery journey, whether that be from a substance use disorder and/or mental health symptoms.

Over the coming weeks please continue to follow Left Bank Recovery Services’ Blog as we explore SAMHSA’s 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery in more depth. Each coming blog will focus on one of the following principles of recovery.

SAMHSA’s 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery:

1. Hope: Recovery emerges from hope

2. Person-Driven: Recovery is person-driven

3. Many Pathways: Recovery occurs via many pathways

4. Holistic: Recovery is Holistic

5. Peer Support: Recovery is supported by peers and allies

6. Relational: Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks

7. Culture: Recovery is culturally-based and influenced

8. Addresses Trauma: Recovery is supported by addressing trauma.

9. Strengths/Responsibility: Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibilities.

10. Respect: Recovery is based on respect


  • Mental Health America. (2021, October 21). Recovery is a Journey. Retrieved from

  • Oxford Languages. (2021, October 21). Dictionary. Retrieved from Google:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). SAMHSA's Working Definition of Recovery, 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery. PEP12-RECDEF. SAMHSA.

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