More than 20 million people in the United States over the age of 12 suffer from a substance use disorder, and over 50 million adults suffer from a mental health disorder. With behavioral health issues so prevalent throughout the country, the importance of recovery support services is clear.

Here, we take a close look at what recovery means, how support services are helping individuals on their recovery journey, and what part technology plays in it all.

The 10 Principles of Recovery

The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as the “process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” The SAMHSA also created 10 guiding principles of recovery that should underpin the care services individuals in recovery receive.

RECOVERY EMERGES FROM HOPE

Hope is the driving force behind the recovery process. It’s the belief that recovery is real and that people can (and do) overcome the obstacles set in front of them.

RECOVERY IS PERSON-DRIVEN

Recovery is all about people, meaning people can empower themselves and take back control over their lives by defining their own path toward recovery.

RECOVERY INVOLVES MANY PATHWAYS

Every individual is unique with their own strengths, talents, and values, so recovery journeys are highly personal. These pathways are characterized by continual growth and natural setbacks.

RECOVERY IS HOLISTIC

Recovery encompasses an individual’s mind, body, spirit, and community, which means it must address everything from housing and employment to clinical treatment and self-care practices.

RECOVERY IS SUPPORTED BY PEERS

Peers encourage and engage each other, providing a critical sense of belonging, supportive relationships, and community.

RECOVERY IS RELATIONAL

Recovery needs the involvement of people who believe in the individual’s ability to recover, can offer hope and support, and suggest strategies for change.

RECOVERY IS BASED ON CULTURE

An individual’s culture, and all of its values, traditions, and beliefs, are one of the keys to defining the person’s recovery pathway.

RECOVERY IS INFORMED BY TRAUMA

Trauma is often connected to mental health and substance use problems, so recovery supports must be trauma-informed to create a safe, encouraging environment.

RECOVERY INVOLVES STRENGTHS & RESPONSIBILITIES

Individuals, families, and communities all have a responsibility to support the recovery journey through their respective strengths.

Where Do Recovery Support Services Fit In?

Clinical services are often considered an immediate solution to mental health and substance use disorders. While they may be effective in the short term, they’re not enough to achieve long-term, sustained recovery. That’s where recovery support services come in. Common services include:

RECOVERY HOUSING

After clinical treatment, individuals not yet ready to return to their former environment may move into recovery housing. By teaching life skills, creating opportunities to develop social relationships, and more, these living homes provide much of the ongoing support that is necessary for long-term recovery.

PEER SUPPORT GROUPS

Peer support groups offer a number of personal, social, and practical benefits. They help individuals in recovery find a voice and a source of optimism; they offer a sense of belonging through shared experiences; and, on a more practical level, give individuals information, skills, and strategies that support their recovery journey.

FAMILY SUPPORT GROUPS

Designed to get family members, a critical natural support system, involved in a person’s recovery, these support groups give families a chance to offer mutual support and discuss challenges, strategies, and opportunities.

Where Does Technology Fit In?

In today’s digital age, technology has become a fundamental part of recovery support services as they help realize many of recovery’s guiding principles.

BETTER ACCESS

While technology isn’t a replacement for in-person services, video conferencing tools help individuals overcome geographic and socioeconomic barriers and access the support services that are best fit for their individual circumstances. Remote meetings also help instill confidence in people worried about the stigma surrounding many behavioral health conditions.

MORE EMPOWERMENT

Recovery support services and their patients can benefit from telehealth platforms. Through an all-in-one digital platform, patients can gain instant access to their health information, educational resources, and recovery-tracking tools, all of which empower the individual to engage with and take control of their own journey. On the service provider side, these platforms include remote patient monitoring tools that facilitate more proactive and personalized care delivery.

ENHANCED CONNECTIONS

Recovery is a holistic journey that involves just about every aspect of the individual’s life. This means cohesive communication between patients, peers, family members, and service providers is critical. Technology can help maintain these connections. Through various digital tools, care teams and support teams can all stay on the same page. This helps eliminate care redundancies, promote informed decision-making, and create an overall better path toward recovery.

Empower Your Patients’ Recovery With iTether

At iTether, our mission is to enable vulnerable individuals to live healthier lives by harnessing the power of human connection. Whether you’re a behavioral health solutions provider, a justice agency, or a treatment facility, our platform allows for integration across all levels of care, allowing you to effortlessly meet the needs of your business and, most importantly, your patients. Connect with us today to learn more.