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Reorienting Care to Facilitate the Recovery of People with Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder

Publication Date: Sep 17, 2019

The Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) is a part of the Yale Department of Psychiatry that works to promote the recovery, self-determination, and inclusion of people experiencing psychiatric disability, addiction, and discrimination by focusing on their strengths and the valuable contributions they can make to their communities. In late 2018, the PRCH received a SAMHSA grant to develop the New England Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) in partnership with C4 Innovations and the Harvard Department of Psychiatry. We talked to PRCH’s director, Larry Davidson, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, to learn more.


“PRCH started at Yale in 2000 as a laboratory for exploring and testing new ideas for recovery-oriented care with the goal of going beyond the rhetoric of recovery to making recovery real in clinical practice,” says Dr. Davidson. “In collaboration with the State of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, PRCH created a framework of fundamental principles, concrete practice guidelines, self-assessment tools, and a model of practice that can help providers implement recovery-oriented care in everyday practice.” These efforts helped earn the State of Connecticut a number one ranking of state mental health authorities by the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2017.


Dr. Davidson believes that the New England MHTTC will be instrumental in taking the work that PRCH is doing in Connecticut and spreading it to other New England states. One way that New England MHTTC and PRCH are disseminating knowledge and fostering collaboration is through learning collaboratives. Learning collaboratives are an evidence-based mechanism for accelerating the diffusion and implementation of innovation and best practices. Learning collaborative participants learn from and assist one another as they build a community of knowledge and accelerate their own system transformation to be person-centered and reoriented to facilitating recovery and social inclusion.


“One of the collaboratives focuses on early psychosis, one on trauma-informed care, one on the mental health needs of school-age children, and the other on suicide prevention,” says Dr. Davidson. To learn more about the collaboratives or to participate, visit https://mhttcnetwork.org/newengland or contact Dr. Larry Davidson.



Two PRCH-created resources document the principles, guidelines, and tools that promote recovery and community inclusion:

1. Practice Guidelines for Recovery-Oriented Behavioral Health Care (a free, downloadable PDF) is a useful guide to operationalizing the various components of a recovery-oriented system of care. It will be of interest to people in recovery, their loved ones, behavioral healthcare providers and practitioners, as well as the community at large.

2. A Practical Guide to Recovery-Oriented Practice: Tools for Transforming Mental Health Care (available in paperback or as an e-book) covers fundamental principles for recovery-oriented care, provides practice guidelines developed in and for the field, offers a model of practice, and includes tools to self-assess the recovery orientation of practices and practitioners.


Another resource to check out is The Peer Support Toolkit, produced by the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, is a state-of-the-art guide for integrating peer staff into behavioral health treatment settings. Based on an initial draft developed by Dr. Davidson, the interactive, easy to navigate toolkit (a free, downloadable PDF) addresses issues relevant to agencies nationwide that are in various stages of integrating peer support services. The content is relevant for executive leadership, supervisors, and peer staff.