Peers – consumers, survivors, patients, ex-patients – started to empower and organize in the 1960s & 70s to break out of the chains of institutionalization, forced treatment, and so-called ‘care’ in which discouragement and perpetual illness was the expectation. These courageous and resilient pioneers started to demand a system that allowed them to stay integrated in community, that respected their self-determination and choice, and that never gave up on the promise that people living with mental illness can and do get better. From forming groups, to developing services, to starting whole peer-run agencies, the peer movement grew into a force pushing back against that system.

By the time we get to the 1990s, we find the mainstream paradigm beginning to shift, slowly, towards a ‘Recovery Model,’ building off the successes of the peer movement, with its incredible exemplars and thought-leaders like Pat Deegan, PhD and Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD. Dr. William Anthony, known as the “Father of Psych. Rehab” begins to bridge the gap between these peer leaders and the more traditional mainstream system. PEOPLe, Inc. saw the promise of the peer movement – with its history and decades of hard work – starting to germinate in ways that were pushing the system towards improvement.

With that said, in 2001 the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) contracted with PEOPLe, Inc. to produce the White Paper, “Infusing Recovery Based Principles into Mental Health Services,” which created the “10 Rules of Recovery.” The following ten rules were the product of input and work from thousands of peers living in New York State:

Ten Rules of Recovery

  1. There must be “informed choice.”
  2. It must be “recovery focused.”
  3. It must be “person centered.”
  4. Do no harm.
  5. There must be free access to records.
  6. It must be based on trust.
  7. It must have a focus on cultural values.
  8. It must be knowledge based.
  9. It must be based on a partnership between consumer & provider.
  10. There must be access to care regardless of benefits/lack of benefits

If you wish, you can read Infusing Recovery-based Principles into Mental Health Services.

As the system tried and still tries to make sense of this paradigm shift (no matter how pragmatic it seems to us), peers continued to refine the Recovery Model even more. Now in the 21st century, based on the continued work of peers like Copeland and Margaret “Peggy” Swarbrick, we are shifting from a ‘Recovery Model’ to a ‘Wellness Model,’ realizing that recovery goes beyond just our mental health, and really encompasses our physical health, our social lives, our outlets for learning & creativity, our work or daily activities, our personal finances, our living situations, and our sources of meaning in life.

If you’re interested in receiving information, assistance, or consulting from PEOPLe, Inc. in this area, you can contact our CEO, Steve Miccio