“Recovery occurs when people with mental illness discover, or re-discover, their strengths and abilities for pursuing personal goals and develop a sense of identity that allows them to grow beyond their mental illness."
—Illness Management and Recovery: A Review of the Research, Psychiatric Services, October 2002, Vol. 53, No. 10.
Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) is a curriculum that a specially trained mental health practitioner or specially trained consumer specialist uses to help people to develop personal strategies for coping with mental illness and moving forward with their life. IMR has been identified as an evidence-based practice, which means that researchers have studied IMR and found that it truly works to help people manage mental illness and advance in recovery. IMR practitioners use a combination of motivational, educational, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. IMR was developed with considerable consumer input and is compatible with consumer-led recovery programs.
IMR includes education about mental illness but emphasizes putting information into action through the development of personal goals. IMR strongly emphasizes helping people set and pursue personal goals and helping them put strategies into action in their everyday lives. Throughout the program consumers are encouraged to define what recovery means to them and to identify what goals and dreams are important to them. As people gain more mastery over their symptoms, they gain more control over their lives and become better able to realize their vision of recovery.