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The Case of Supported Employment. How can you tell when a system is transforming to recovery? One way is to look at the employment rate of people with serious mental illnesses. For the last half-century, this rate has hovered consistently around 15 percent. Consumer surveys conducted over the last 20 years, though, have suggested that 70 percent of people in recovery wish to work. Transforming systems are engaged in reducing this discrepancy between the number of people who want to work and those who are currently employed.

One objective measure of transforming systems’ success is how effectively they have done so. Since the advent of supported employment, we can now say that a major obstacle to increasing the employment rate among persons with mental illnesses is the lack of effective community-based supports.

To read this article in entirety and for more information on supported employment, and on how supported employment differs from conventional vocational rehabilitation, go to

Training and Technical Assistance

Training. RTP provides quarterly training Webinars on implementing recovery-oriented practice. Webinars are geared primarily for professional providers but also are open to mental health consumers, people in recovery, and their families; program personnel; service systems and their ""administrators; other stakeholders; and the community at large.

The first Webinar of the 2010 series is “Implementing Recovery-Oriented Practices 1: Emerging Trends in Workforce and Program Development.” It will take place June 8, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. Participants will hear from the Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services about their perspectives, current research and practice experiences, and forecasts for the future. The session will be moderated by Larry Davidson, Ph.D., RTP Project Director.

Technical Assistance. Looking for technical
assistance (TA) in finding key resources or
useful tools? RTP TA staff are available to respond to your telephone and email inquiries. Contact them, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 877.584.8535 or

Although mental health practitioners are the Resource Center’s primary audience, anyone interested in promoting the cause of recovery transformation is welcome to access RTP training and TA.

Resources Database

The RTP resource database is growing, with an array of valuable resources related to recovery: articles, reports, stories, videos, research, clinical tools, case studies, and experiential information.

When the RTP Web site is launched, the database will be easily navigable across the three RTP categories:

  • What Is Recovery?
  • Does Recovery Happen?
  • Implementing Recovery-Oriented Practices

For the resource database to continue growing and become an even richer repository for the community, we need your help! To assist us in building this invaluable collection, please submit recovery resources to

Related Links

SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information Center was developed for users of mental health services and their families, the general public, policymakers, providers, and the media:

The SAMHSA Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity, and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health (known as the ADS Center) works to counteract prejudice and discrimination and promote social inclusion of people with mental health problems:


Guest Columnist


Welcome to the first e-newsletter from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Recovery to Practice (RTP) Initiative. This new initiative is the most recent of the Federal Government’s efforts to promote recovery for all Americans affected by mental illness. It is designed to help mental health providers adopt and use recovery-oriented practices. It involves 1) creating a Recovery Resource Center, complete with Web-based and print materials, training, and technical assistance for mental health professionals, and 2) developing and disseminating curricula and training materials on recovery-oriented practice for each of the major mental health professions.

Recovery from serious mental illness is not in itself a new concept. The recovery movement began nearly 35 years ago with the courageous efforts of persons who had experienced mental illness and fought to reclaim their citizenship within the broader community. What is relatively new, however, is taking what we have learned about the nature of recovery—particularly from people who have personal experience with it—and using this knowledge to transform mental health practice. By bringing together the major mental health professions with people in recovery, advocates, and other stakeholders (including experts in curriculum and workforce development), the RTP initiative begins to address how we can translate the vision, values, and principles of recovery into the concrete and everyday practice of mental health practitioners.

Our quarterly e-newsletter will keep you up to date on our progress in bringing recovery into the mainstream of clinical practice. It also provides one of several opportunities for you to enter into this ongoing dialog. To contribute to the newsletter, please email Other opportunities for involvement are spelled out in the remaining sections of this issue.

—Larry Davidson, Ph.D., RTP Project Director

Professional Discipline Training Awards

SAMHSA approved awards to five national behavioral health care–provider associations to hasten awareness, acceptance, and adoption of recovery-oriented practices in the delivery of mental health services. The following organizations will receive funding for the next 5 years to develop recovery-oriented educational materials and train thousands of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, and mental health peer specialists:

  • American Psychiatric Association
  • American Psychiatric Nurses Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • National Association of Peer Specialists

These recovery-oriented training materials will emphasize new ways in which mental health professionals can work collaboratively across professions and support individuals with mental illnesses who are entering into and pursuing recovery. The expectation is that each profession has a unique role to play and that the respective traditions and strengths of each discipline will contribute to the collective effort to learn about and adopt new and innovative recovery-oriented practices.

The recovery-oriented training materials will be based on the 10 components of SAMHSA’s National Consensus Statement on Mental Health Recovery. The materials will, for example, be relationship based, emphasizing the healing context in which specific services should be delivered; person centered, embracing the whole person (not just the illness or pathology), and encouraging that individual to achieve his or her life goals; hopeful; and strengths based.

For more information about these awards, email

Personal Story

Elyn Saks’s profound and hopeful memoir about living with schizophrenia, The Center Cannot Hold, is an inspiring journey for people with the illness, and for their family members. This story describes both Saks’s own efforts and those of the mental health professionals who worked with her at various stages of her ongoing recovery. Saks is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC). She is also Associate Dean of the USC Gould School of Law.

Resource Spotlight

This quarter’s resource spotlight is a newly published book, Practical Guide to Recovery-Oriented Practice, by RTP Project Director Larry Davidson, and colleagues Michael Rowe, Janis Tondora, Maria J. O’Connell, and Martha Staeheli Lawless. This book ta""kes the 2003 New Freedom Commission on Mental Health’s vision for recovery and life in the community for every adult with a serious mental illness, and shows what is entailed in making this vision a reality. Beginning with the historical context of the recovery movement and its recent emergence at the center of mental health policy worldwide, the authors clarify various definitions of mental health recovery and addresses the most common misconceptions of recovery. Davidson and colleagues suggest fundamental principles for recovery-oriented care, a set of concrete practice guidelines for the field, a recovery-guide model of practice as an alternative to clinical case management, and tools to assess the recovery orientation of practices and practitioners.

Join the RTP ListServ

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Contact Us

For more information about RTP, contact us at, or call 877.584.8535.