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Community Ment Health J. 2005 Apr;41(2):141-58.

Implementing recovery oriented evidence based programs: identifying the critical dimensions.

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Boston University, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 940 Commonwealth Ave. West, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


In the decades of the 1990s many mental health programs and the systems that fund these programs have identified themselves as recovery-oriented. A program that is grounded in a vision of recovery is based on the notion that a majority of people can grow beyond the catastrophe of a severe mental illness and lead a meaningful life in their own community. First person accounts of recovery and empirical research have led to a developing consensus about the service delivery values underlying recovery. The emphasis on recovery-oriented programming has been concurrent with a focus in the field on evidence-based practices. We propose that evidence based practices be implemented in a manner that is recovery compatible. Program dimensions for evidence based practice, such as program mission, policies, procedures, record keeping and staffing should be consistent with recovery values in order for a program to be considered to be recovery-oriented. This article describes the critical dimensions of such value based practice, regardless of the service the recovery oriented mental health programs provide (e.g., treatment, case management, rehabilitation). The aim of this first attempt at conceptualizing recovery-oriented mental health programs is to both provide direction to those involved in program implementation of evidence based mental health practices, as well as providing a stimulus for further discussion in the field.

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