Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Resilience Is Needed in the Recovery Journey

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Resilience Is Needed in the Recovery Journey

Article excerpt

The name Jessie Close may not ring a bell for you, but her sister's name, Glenn Close-the actress-probably will. I just finished reading Jessies book, released in January, that apdy enough is entitled Resilience. Jessie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as an adult, after years of exhibiting symptoms.

There is a stage of resilience people reach in their recovery process that allows them to take the ups and downs of lift without getting thrown to the ground.

We behavioral health folks now finally have a hard-won consensus that recovery from mental illnesses is possible, and some of us would go so far as to say probable. We talk about "person centered, person driven" services. We understand the importance of creating healing spaces, and when we are able, we create facilities that are more friendly and respectful.

But then what? Once a person begins their recovery journey, we have often fallen short of helping them build the resilience they need to leave us-yes, leave us. We don't even have many exit strategies because we don't plan on people leaving us very often.

Those who don't leave

When we are able to face the fact that some people don't leave our systems, we often place the cause directly on their shoulders. "They have done well, but they still need us for..." I submit that it's time we look at ourselves and look at what we need to do to take our next growth steps as professionals and as service providers.

We either don't know how, or are too afraid, to open the doors for the next steps into real independent community living. Are we afraid if they don't need us we will be out of a job?

I've probably made some of you mad by now, so let's take a breather.

Jessie's story

I first met Jessie a couple years ago at a conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Jessie and her sister Glenn had just established their nonprofit organization, Bring Change 2 Mind, with a mission of "eradicating the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness."

The next time I saw Jessie was at a meeting a year later. She had changed considerably. She seemed stronger, more confident. She was now managing her illness instead of having the illness manage her. I didn't find out what had taken her to this new level of strength until I read her new book. Jessie wrote Resilience with the intention of giving others hope. This act of sharing her story is one of the keys to building resilience.

When we share our truth with the intention of helping others, something magical happens in very core of our being-a place pills and shots don't touch. …

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