For hundreds of years, people diagnosed with mental illness were thought to be hopeless cases, destined to suffer inevitable deterioration. Beginning in the early 1990s, however, providers and policymakers in mental health systems came to promote recovery as their goal. But what does recovery truly mean? For example, to consumers of mental health services, it implies empowerment and greater resources dedicated to healing; to HMOs, it can suggest a means of cost savings when benefits cease upon recovery. This book considers ""recovery"" from multiple angles. Traditionally, Nora Jacobson notes, recovery was defined as symptom abatement or a return to a normal state of health, but as activists, mental health professionals, and policymakers sought to develop ""recovery-oriented"" systems, other meanings emerged.
Nora Jacobson is the author of Cleavage: Technology, Controversy, and the Ironies of the Man-Made Breast. She works as a scientist for the Health Systems Research and Consulting Unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and is an assistant professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto.