Having mental health issues is like having any chronic illness like diabetes or asthma. Recovery is about taking responsibility for your health and doing what you can to be well, physically and mentally.
Wellness for everyone includes things like exercise, diet, stress-management, having friends and having some fun in your life. Many people find that spirituality is a tremendous resource in their recovery journey. When you have mental health challenges, coping with symptoms increases your wellness, too.
Employment is good for wellness, too. As an adult living in this country, you have the same rights and responsibilities to citizenship as anyone else, including the right to work. Mental health agencies have programs to help you be successful in going back to work. Please check out the Employment page to learn more.
Planning is important in finding and keeping wellness. The Recovery strategies page includes ideas you may find useful. Many people have found the Wellness Recovery Action Plans as developed by Mary Ellen Copeland to be a powerful tool in recovery.
There are many ways to help your self be well, even in the presence of some symptoms.
12 Points of Wellness
You live in a place you like and can call home.
You have something that you believe is meaningful to do during the day.
You have at least one someone to laugh with and pour your heart out to.
You like yourself (mostly).
You find some joy in life and have fun now and again.
You see that you have choices and you are able to make a decision about what you want to do.
You feel that you are able to do most of the things you would like to do.
You take a calculated risk now and then.
You recognize that there are some things about life and our world that cannot be changed, at least in the short term.
You have found a place in the world and feel reasonably good about it.
When you feel bad, you are able to make yourself feel better and ask for help when you need it.
When others feel bad or need help, you give when asked.
10 Tools to "Live Your Life Well"
"Live Your Life Well" is a national public education campaign dedicated to helping people better cope with stress and enhance their well being. Stress can take a huge toll on a person's health, mood, productivity and relationships, but specific evidence-based tools can help counterbalance these effects.
The nonprofit Mental Health America has created "Live Your Life Well" to increase the number of people who take action to protect their mental health, both in the face of ongoing stress and in times of great personal challenge.
Wellness Recovery Action Plans
A Wellness Recovery Action Plan (or a "WRAP" plan) is a written plan you develop to help manage your mental illness and resume stability and wellness. Ask your mental health helper at your agency how you might find a WRAP class in your area. If you want to, add creating a WRAP plan to your agency recovery plan. A WRAP plan includes:
- Creating a wellness "toolbox" for self-care in everyday situations
- Identifying early warning signs and triggers
- Establishing an action plan to use when experiencing distress
- Creating a crisis plan for others to use on your behalf (advance directive)
- Creating a post crisis plan to help you get back on track
Find out more about WRAP plans.
A mental health advance directive is a legal document you can create describing what you want to happen if you become so ill from a mental illness that your judgment is impaired and/or you are unable to communicate effectively. It can inform others about what treatment you want or don't want, and it can identify a person to whom you have given the authority to make decisions on your behalf.
An Advance Directive may be part of a WRAP plan or you can also write an Advance Directive by itself. Get more information about Advance Directives from DSHS.
The University of Pennsylvania Collaborative on Community Integration recently released an easy-to-use, practical tool for creating a psychiatric Advance Directive. To better understand and address planning obstacles, the Advance Self-Advocacy Plan (ASAP) Guidebook and Planning Sheets were developed with extensive input from consumers who have been hospitalized for psychiatric care and also from providers of mental health services. Download a free copy.
The Washington State Department of Health has created a free registry for Washington residents to post their health care directives. This free registry includes Mental Health Advance Directives.
Starting in March 2020, households across our region and across the country will have the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Census. Your participation matters. Learn how you can promote a fair and accurate census at kingcounty.gov/census.