The Role of Recovery Specialists: The Importance of Hope 

By: Jeff Shapiro, CRSS 

March 22, 2019

There was a time when recovery was a word rarely used in association with mental health. During the 1990’s I never heard the word “recovery” used. During the year 2007, I was introduced to NAMI Metro Suburban. It was with NAMI that I began to hear the word “recovery.” It was a breakthrough for me to be able to believe that I could get better. 

The word “recovery” is a route to happiness. It is a road to seeing the light. Many people who experience mental health conditions have dark times. That is why there is the candle of hope that shines. When people get better it is becoming more recognized. Those who have gotten better are now becoming important people in the community. 

Within the psychiatric setting of a hospital it is imperative that there are recovery specialists on staff. There was a time when the framework in the mental health field did not allow recovery specialists to work. 

The importance of the role of recovery specialists goes hand in hand with the building of the recovery movement. The recovery movement is a unified force which can cause things to move into motion. One big part of recovery on a larger scale is the addition of the idea that mental health is a priority. Mental health needs to be recognized in individuals to be deemed important. This is the way real change can happen. The second part of the recovery movement is successful treatment practices for mental health conditions. Adding recovery element of “lived experience” to help encourage others towards hope. Having “lived experience” means sharing one’s story and allowing the listener to see what has worked for them. 

When I was 20 years old I found a medication that worked for me. This medication soothed me and allowed me to focus. Then I began to go to school. My focus grew sharper and my grades began to improve. 

If recovery has been successful for me then it can be successful for others. I used to hallucinate in my basement. I would isolate and hide feelings of depression. By 2009 I had graduated from college. I also began to work in the mental health field. I’ve always wanted to give recovery back. I like that I can help others to heal. 

I work at Riveredge Hospital twice a week. I’ve had many incredible experiences working with people there. The staff is very encouraging and I get positive energy back from those who receive mental health services. 

 A Recovery Specialist can used lived experiences to inspire others and give help. 

I hope that the statistics associated with this article can inspire other mental health agencies to have recovery specialists on staff. I also hope that the statistics can promote the idea that recovery is inevitable. 

The advent of the role of the recovery specialist is a new form of recovery. When a recovery specialist gives from the heart everybody benefits. 

Thank you for everything. 

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