Mental health is critical to recovery, but it’s not always easy to put your finger on what it means to achieve better mental health. Here are some ideas about the importance of mental health to recovery.
How are mental health and recovery connected?
- Better mental health allows people in recovery to reconnect with society and a support network
- Treating symptoms of mental illness means becoming functional enough to make a plan and stick to it, maintaining all of the coping strategies, medications, processes, and therapy you need
- Better mental health takes the form of self-care that enables recovery—such as getting more sleep, staying active, and eating healthful foods
- A mental health focus means good and bad days, not emotional peaks and valleys that make you want to use and abuse substances
- Coping with mental health issues means tackling serious issues like suicidal thoughts first and moving on to things like depression and social anxiety, until you can eventually tackle “reach” goals like smarter decision-making
- Stigmas surrounding mental illness work against recovery, and many with mental health disorders have trouble connecting with others and maintaining positive, supportive relationships
- SAMHSA identifies 8 “dimensions of wellness” for good mental and physical health: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual
Themes of mental healthcare and recovery that intersect
It may feel impossible to take on mental health challenges and addiction together, but evidence shows that it can be done. What’s more, an integrated approach should make you feel hopeful:
- You don’t get “cured” permanently of addiction or of mental illness; both are lifelong processes that you learn to live with in ways that are more effective
- You can miss things you used to do and ways you used to feel and still want to get better
- Both living with mental illness and mastering addiction are about recovering a stronger, more reliable sense of judgment in order to regain and maintain independence
No matter who you are, better mental health is a huge benefit. If you’re in recovery, it’s an absolute necessity. Consider the importance of mental health to recovery as you support friends and loved ones in their journey.