Fostering Recovery and Upholding Rights
Strategic Direction #2 – Summary Version
The concept of ‘recovery’ refers to a process or journey of healing in which, to the greatest extent possible, people are empowered to make informed choices about the supports, services and treatments that enable them to live a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life, even with on-going limitations from mental health problems and illnesses. A recovery-oriented mental health system is organized to support and sustain people throughout this journey.
While significant pockets of practice are oriented toward recovery and well-being across the country, there remain many challenges and misconceptions to overcome in explaining recovery and putting it into practice.  For example, recovery is not a synonym for ‘cure,’ nor does it imply that medical treatment and medication should be replaced with social services and peer support. Rather, recovery seeks to promote people’s ability to choose, and to ensure that options are available to meet the full range of people’s needs.
Drawing on the recovery principles of hope, informed choice, dignity and responsibility will contribute to the well-being of children and seniors as much as to that of adults who are living with mental health problems and illnesses. A recovery-oriented system strives to encourage partnerships — with service providers, families, friends — to support people on their journey towards recovery and well-being.
Consistently upholding the rights of people living with mental health problems and illnesses is an integral part of fostering recovery and well-being. Barriers — attitudinal, behavioural or structural — that contribute to discrimination against people living with mental health problems and illnesses must be eliminated.
The over-representation of people living with mental health problems and illnesses in the criminal justice system highlights the importance of respecting their right to the same level of services and supports that are available to all Canadians. Efforts to reduce the numbers of people living with mental health problems and illnesses in the criminal justice system must be strengthened, and the shortfalls in mental health services, treatments and supports within this system must be addressed.
- Shift policies and practices toward recovery and well-being for people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses, and their families.
- Actively involve people living with mental health problems and illnesses and their families in making decisions about service systems.
- Uphold the rights of people living with mental health problems and illnesses.
- Reduce the over-representation of people living with mental health problems and illnesses in the criminal justice system and provide appropriate services, treatment and supports to those who are in the system.
For a full version of this Strategic Direction, including the recommendations for action, download the Strategy
 Anthony, W.A. (1993). Recovery from mental illness: The guiding vision of the mental health service system in the 1990s. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 16, 11–23.
 Davidson, L., Harding, C., & Spanoil, L. (2005). Recovery from severe mental illnesses: Research evidence and implications for practice. Boston: Boston University.
 Mulvale, G., & Bartram, M. (2009). Recovery in the Canadian context: Feedback on the framework for mental health strategy development. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 28 (2), 7–15.