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What Recovery Looks Like After Mental Health Care Treatment

Mental health care is an ongoing journey on the road to recovery and healing. Note that 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental health illness, and according to the CDC, it “affects how we think, feel, and act.”

We must note that starting treatment and understanding the conditions that influence one’s life are only the first and hardest steps towards making the changes needed for long-term recovery. Because it is possible.

When a person learns about their conditions and triggers during treatment, they can create an action plan with the help of professionals to address stressful situations and follow a new lifestyle.

You can learn how to create an action plan that starts with small and measurable changes in life, including eating habits, exercise, self-care, volunteering, peer support, and hobbies. These behavior changes will give you the best chance to achieve long-term recovery and mental well-being. The information below will help you learn and implement some ideas for your life after continued mental health care treatment.

What to Do After Receiving Mental Health Care Treatment

The American Psychological Association states that there are ten core principles of recovery. Understanding these principles will help you develop an action plan for your continued mental health care after treatment. Knowing what to do is the first step.

The ten core principles include the following:

  • Self-direction – it is when a person determines their own path to recovery.
  • Individualized and person-centered – create a recovery plan based on a person’s “unique strengths, needs, preferences, experiences, and cultural backgrounds.”
  • Empowerment – is a proactive approach giving a person the power to choose among different options and involves them in the decision-making process.
  • Holistic – overall focus on a person’s mind, body, spirit, and community.
  • Nonlinear – focus on a person’s continued growth, including the ups and downs they face along the way to recovery.
  • Strengths-based – is recovery based on a person’s physical, mental, and character strengths.
  • Peer support – receiving and providing support to people facing similar conditions and at different stages of their recovery journey.
  • Respect – respect oneself and provide and receive it from others.
  • Responsibility – taking responsibility for one’s own self-care and recovery journey.
  • Hope – knowing it takes time and patience to overcome any condition and that it is possible.

All of these core principles have something in common; you serve as the main character in your story by taking a proactive approach to your mental health care after treatment.

Note that you may need to make some behavior changes or create new lifestyle routines to ensure you stay on the path to long-term recovery.

How to Ensure Continued Success in Recovery After Treatment

After receiving mental health care treatment, the recovery journey doesn’t stop there. Instead, a person goes into a transition period between departing a treatment facility and returning home.

During treatment, a person goes through individual or group sessions, peer support meetings, completes different activities, and maybe even creates new hobbies. All of these play a role in providing a person with the tools they need to ensure a smooth transition to a new daily life.

You have the power to create a new life for yourself by incorporating some positive lifestyle changes using the ten core principles of recovery in your action plan.

Below we provide you with some examples you can use to incorporate:

Improve Eating Habits

Food gives you sustenance and the nutrients your body needs to perform daily tasks. Nutrition plays an important role in your life, and it is also the key to ensuring your continued success in your mental health recovery journey.

As food and nutrients can influence your mental health, creating healthy eating habits and preparing daily meal plans will help you take better care of yourself. All you need to do is ensure a balance between an intake of fruits and vegetables. A helpful trick is to pick a variety of colors in the food. Different colors mean different nutrients.

Don’t forget that drinking water is just as important. Water and food are your body's fuel. These will give you a boost during exercise routines.


Exercise has a powerful impact on mental health. During exercise routines, the body produces different chemicals that affect your mental state. Note that you don’t necessarily need to join a gym to get the benefits of exercise. There are many activities to enjoy, such as walking, hiking, swimming, yoga, or playing sports.

What is important is to move the body to elevate the heart rate. As an added benefit, exercise will help manage mood swings, develop stronger muscles, and improve heart and lung health.

Self Care

Practicing self-care does not only include eating and exercise habits, but also the minuscule routines added at certain times during the day. Examples of self-care can include a morning and evening routine.

For example, your morning routine can include waking up at a self-appointed time, brushing your teeth, doing skincare, drinking water, making the bed, and eating breakfast. The key is knowing what you want and need to do to help set the tone for the rest of the day.

The same principle applies to the evenings. The body needs a routine to remind yourself to wind down and get ready to sleep. An evening routine can include eating an early dinner, taking a shower or bath, and reading a book. The key is to find something you love that will aid in recovery.


Helping others, whether they are people or animals, can help provide a person with a great sense of fulfillment. There are many local organizations where a person can volunteer some of their time.

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, volunteer work reduces stress and increases positive and relaxed feelings thanks to the release of dopamine. Volunteer work will also provide you with a sense of purpose and help create new relationships.

Volunteer work will keep the mind busy and help you avoid entering into red flag situations that can trigger a poor mental state.

Peer Support

Peer support is an important part of your continued success in recovery after treatment. Support groups can meet in-person or virtually. Know that you are not alone in your journey to recovery. You will meet with people at different stages of their own recovery, which will provide you with hope for your future and inspire you to continue helping yourself and others.


A hobby is one or several activities you can do for the simple joy of doing them. It can be a sport or something on the creative side such as writing, painting, or music.

Completing hobbies also teaches you new skills while improving your mental well-being. It helps you manage stress and triggers.
The team at Jackson House understands treatment doesn’t end when a person finishes in-house treatment. They provide continued support and aftercare during the first month to assist and identify any red flags to ensure your continued success in recovery after treatment.

Remember that you learned the tools you needed during your residential treatment. Using those tools with an action plan involving one or more of the ten core principles of recovery and applying some behavior changes will help you ensure your continued success in recovery after treatment.

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If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.