“The Recovery Model.” It sure sounds good, don’t it? Recovery is one of the now buzzwords. So, what does it really mean? Did someone find a cure for schizophrenia? Because, if they did, it’s a well kept secret.
The recovery model promotes the idea that people can recover from mental illness. This is an important concept for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it promises to counter the phenomenon of people getting labeled and institutionalized and then forgotten. It challenges the neglectful attitude that people can’t get better. It highlights the fact that some problem behaviors are actually a result of institutionalization and over-medication. It provides hope. These are good things.
It is also used by state human services departments as a rationale for cutting or even eliminating funding for secure residential care for people with severe psychiatric disabilities. The result? People with severe disabilities are forcibly moved to community placements, and if-and-when they don’t make it, they end up on the streets.
That sure-as-shit don’t sound like recovery to me.
The fact is, there are some people who will get better with treatment (or sometimes even without) and there are some with more severe conditions who will not recover and need continuing treatment and care.
Yet again, we have a treatment model that is not based on science, but on political and economic expediency and because there is so much political correctness and complacency in the system, very few seem willing to speak up about it.
Dr. Munetz put it with nicer words than I can muster in his letter to Psychiatric Services (APA journal): Denial of Mental Illness
Maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of an honest discussion of the issues. That would be real hope.