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Recovering Your Mental Health: A Self-Help Guide

Identifies activities and strategies you can use to help manage your own mental health conditions, psychiatric illnesses.

Identifies activities and strategies you can use now to help manage your own mental health conditions, psychiatric illnesses.

Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction
Taking A Look At Yourself
Things To Remember
What To Do If Your Symptoms Are Very Serious
Getting Health Care
Your Health Care Rights
Using Psychiatric Medications
Additional Things You Can Do Right Away to Help Yourself Feel Better
Things To Do When You Are Feeling Better To Keep Yourself Well
Further Resources

Foreword

Consumer self-care is becoming an important part of efficient and effective healthcare delivery. By exercising best practices of promoting wellness and preventing illness, informed consumers can dramatically improve outcomes and reduce costs. This strategy has been widely successful in primary healthcare delivery; yet, few efforts have been conducted in the mental health arena. There is clearly a defined need for information and guidance to assist mental health consumers to become better educated in the management of their own care.

This publication, Recovering Your Mental Health: A Self-Help Guide, identifies activities and strategies that people may use to help manage their own mental illnesses and services. This booklet is intended to support and enhance the nationwide focus on self-help for and recovery from mental health problems. It is based on the extensively-reported day-to-day experiences of people with psychiatric symptoms, and how they get well and stay well.

The booklet offers practical steps that people need to keep in mind as they work on their own recovery including: getting good medical care and treatment; ensuring effective medication decision-making and managing; using specific simple, safe, free or inexpensive tools to relieve symptoms; rebuilding and keeping a strong support system; developing and using a comprehensive plan to monitor and respond to psychiatric symptoms as well as to maintain on-going mental wellness; and developing a lifestyle that enhances wellness.


 

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It is important for mental health consumers to take part in all aspects of their own care and to have the tools and knowledge to do so. It is our hope that this booklet will provide self-help skills and strategies to assist people with mental health problems to achieve new levels of stability, recovery, and wellness.

Joseph H. Autry III, M.D. Acting Administrator
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Bernard S. Arons, M.D.
Director
Center for Mental Health Services

Introduction

If you have troubling, uncomfortable, or severe emotional or psychiatric symptoms, this booklet contains helpful information on things you can do to help yourself feel better. It is complementary to, and not a replacement for, your professional treatment. Never stop taking medications without careful consideration and without getting the advice of your physician and other supporters. Never abruptly stop any medication. There are protocols which must be followed in stopping or changing medications.

Not all of the ideas in this booklet will work for everyone—use the ones that feel right to you. If something doesn't sound right to you, skip over it. However, try not to dismiss anything before you have considered it.

The term health care provider in this booklet refers to any person or people you have chosen to provide you with health care.

Last Updated: 08 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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