Want to talk to someone now? Emergency and support lines

Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)

Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mensline: 1300 789 978
beyondblue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Rurallink: 1800 522 002


Recovery is different for everyone and can take time. While treatment can help with your recovery, there are other things that you can do to help yourself and to help you stay well.1

What does recovery mean?

Personal recovery in mental health is defined within the National Framework for Recovery-oriented Mental Health Services as ‘being able to create and live a meaningful and contributing life in a community of choice with or without the presence of mental health issues’. It is acknowledged that recovery is personal and means different things to different people.

Stages of recovery

Recovery is an individual process, in which everyone experiences differently. However, there are some common emotions that people can experience, these include:2

  1. Shock at having to deal with something that you have never had to deal with previously;
  2. Denial or trouble accepting that you're having a health problem, or one that many people find hard to understand;
  3. Despair and anger at having to deal with difficulties related to the condition;
  4. Acceptance of the changes that a condition can bring, as well as accepting how yourself and others see you; and
  5. Coping by finding new ways to live with and tackle changes and challenges.3

Recovery is more than focusing on managing symptoms it is also about having choices and being able to create a meaningful and contributing life.4

Personal recovery

Personal recovery is an idea that has emerged from the expertise of people who have experienced a mental health issue.5

Below are four personal recovery tasks that will assist in the process of recovery:

Task 1: Developing a positive identity

Develop a personal identity outside of being a person with a mental health issue.

Task 2: Framing the ‘mental health issue’

This involves making sense of the mental health issue and framing it as part of you but not who you wholly are.

Task 3: Self-managing the mental health issue

Take personal responsibility for your own wellbeing, including seeking help and support from others when necessary.

Task 4: Developing your self-identity

Working on developing your self-identity (which has nothing to do with your mental health issue) that provides you with valued social roles within society.

There are a range of support services that can help you on the road to recovery. There are also many things you can do to help yourself recover and look after your mental health and wellbeing. The important thing is to find the right support that works for you.

Visit the consumer and carer guide pamphlet for more information.