Name of Innovative Program:
The Enhanced Recovery Model
CooperRiis Healing Community
Name of Innovative Program Lead:
Dr. Sharon Young
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Only in recent years has the term “recovery” been used when discussing severe and persistent mental health challenges. Recovery does not mean “cure” or “fix.” Recovery is about an individual moving through the phases of being impeded in their lives toward their own dreams and goals. Ten years ago, CooperRiis was founded on the principles of the Enhanced Recovery Model. Individuals with persistent mental illness too often become isolated and passive as opposed to being a participating member of their community. At CooperRiis, our healing mission is to enable individuals whose lives are impeded by a mental health challenges to develop their capabilities for creativity, wholeness, relationship and optimal health. We partner with residents so they can achieve their highest levels of fulfillment and functioning and respond productively to their future challenges and opportunities for growth. Being connected in a healthy way with family, friends, supportive professionals, and one’s community at large is an important aspect of recovery. Many of the components of our program are designed to promote empowerment, functioning, insight, and the self-redefinition processes that occur in recovery from mental illness. Over the past ten years, CooperRiis has helped over 700 residents and families rediscover hope.
Creativity and Innovation:
A shift is occurring in mental health. Leaders in the recovery movement practice an individual –centered recovery philosophy. Consistent with this philosophy is the belief that individuals with severe and persistent mental illness undergo a recovery process much like individuals who experience other types of chronic health conditions. Mental health recovery is an evolving process that involves gradual and sometimes uneven progress over the course of time. In the recovery model, the resident is steering his or her recovery. At CooperRiis, we have many innovations that serve to support the specific dreams and goals of our residents. We offer a comprehensive wellness program that includes exercise, whole foods diet and nutraceuticals. We also use genomic testing to evaluate how an individual may react to specific medications. Neurofeedback and other neurotechnologies are used to augment therapy and maximize medications. We also use work therapy to foster connectedness in the community.
CooperRiis is focused on training and teaching mental health providers and leaders about the Enhanced Recovery Model. The Institute is responsible for the continued innovation and evaluation of programming, i.e. Outcomes Measurements. CooperRiis has shared the compilation of 10 years of data with thousands of professionals across the country. Dr. Sharon Young, Director of the CooperRiis Institute, leads training across the country for the enhanced recovery model. The Institute is also key in leading the NC One Community in Recovery Conference. This year, Paolo del Vecchio, Director of SAMSHA Center for Mental Health Services, was the keynote speaker. Given his national platform, it was quite wonderful to have SAMSHA represented at a recovery conference. We also foster, train and endorse the use of peer support specialists. We produced a tool to communicate their importance and educate organizations on how to best use their skills (http://www.cooperriis.org/cooperriis-shake-on-it-video.html).
Over the past ten years, CooperRiis has built strong relationships with our families and with foundations. Many of our families start in a place of fear and sadness and move to a place of hope and success. We have heard from many mothers who have gone one to become advocates for mental health and are coaching other families through the tricky waters of supporting a family member with a mental health challenge. We have strong connections with foundations that have granted ongoing multi-year support for the enhanced recovery model. We have partnered with industry leaders in neurofeedback technologies for guidance and to help track the outcomes of these newer innovations. We have also partnered with the University of Colorado to disseminate and interpret the 10 years of outcomes measures we have collected. We are fortunate to have this outside body to review our work.
The Enhanced Recovery Model at CooperRiis can be translated into many settings. Professionals can shift their language to be more recovery focused, putting the resident on equal footing on the recovery journey and reducing stigma. Discussing goals and dreams instead of a growing list of deficits can transform. Communities can integrate instead of isolate those with mental health challenges by fostering supported employment and volunteering. Individuals can practice mindfullness and selfcare with their nutrition and exercise to maintain recovery. Nutrition and exercise are key components of a healthy life that should be emphasized in all of our lives. We have also seen the tremendous benefit of involving families during the recovery process. As an individual changes, many times the family remains static. Families can find benefit through community support and recovery education that will help with long term success.
For ten years, CooperRiis has been collecting data on our resident’s recovery journeys. Processes are in place to interview residents and families before, during and after the program. The Enhanced Recovery Model gives a framework to survey overall satisfaction, hope and symptom improvement. Data indicates that residents leave the residential program with the following:
- satisfaction with their overall recovery and wellness
- restored sense of belonging in community
- increased sense of being a whole healthy individual
- cultivation of shared purpose
- increased sense of empowerment relating to one’s mental health.