We’re thrilled to debut our new blog, which focuses on recovery-related news, resources, people, and events. You may be wondering what mental health recovery is.

How much time do you have?

There are about a zillion definitions of recovery; one definition is that recovery can’t be defined because it’s so individualized.

Below are the federal government’s thoughts on the subject. Substitute “challenge” or “diagnosis” for “problem” and you’ve got a good working definition.

Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.

A panel of more than 110 experts, including consumers, providers, researchers, and advocates, came up with the definition, which is part of the National Consensus Statement on Mental Health Recovery (2006). In this statement, the panel delineates 10 fundamental components of recovery. We urge you to read them, think about them, and dwell on the final component: hope.

Of course, as government agencies tend to do, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration convened another panel of researchers and mental health experts for an updated definition of recovery, released in late 2011:

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

The panel also clarified four dimensions that support a life in recovery:

Health  Overcoming or managing one’s disease and living in a physically and emotionally healthy way
Home  A stable, safe place to live
Purpose  Meaningful daily activities, such as school, volunteerism, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society
Community  Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope

If you look at what we do, we’re hitting the mark on every dimension—even home, because our clients find a second home at MHAG.

So maybe we can’t define recovery exactly, but we know it when we see it. And we see it here every day.