Illness Management and Recovery


"Recovery occurs when people with mental illness discover,
or re-discover, their strengths and abilities for pursuing personal
goals and develop a sense of identity that allows them to grow
beyond their mental illness."

—Illness Management and Recovery: A Review of the Research, Psychiatric Services, October 2002, Vol. 53, No. 10.

Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) is a curriculum that a specially trained mental health practitioner or specially trained consumer specialist uses to help people to develop personal strategies for coping with mental illness and moving forward with their life. IMR has been identified as an evidence-based practice, which means that researchers have studied IMR and found that it truly works to help people manage mental illness and advance in recovery. IMR practitioners use a combination of motivational, educational, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. IMR was developed with considerable consumer input and is compatible with consumer-led recovery programs.

IMR includes education about mental illness but emphasizes putting information into action through the development of personal goals. IMR strongly emphasizes helping people set and pursue personal goals and helping them put strategies into action in their everyday lives. Throughout the program consumers are encouraged to define what recovery means to them and to identify what goals and dreams are important to them. As people gain more mastery over their symptoms, they gain more control over their lives and become better able to realize their vision of recovery.

The IMR program can be provided in an individual or group format and generally lasts three to six months. IMR students are asked to do home practice/homework and families and other supportive people are included if desired. The following subjects are covered in educational handouts: recovery strategies, practical facts about mental illness, the stress vulnerability model and treatment strategies, building social support, reducing relapses, using medication effectively, coping with stress, coping with problems and symptoms, and getting your needs met in the mental health system.

Click here for the IMR SAMHSA toolkit. IMR logo- cover from a manual -purple square around a bright green rectangle with purple words iside that say "Illness Management and Recovey" below in purple bordered lettering "An Evidenced Based Practice" below that the SAMSHA logo (bird in abstract design facing to the left inside a circel all design is white incolor. On the right side is a picture in purple of two teen females facing forward

Click here for Illness Management and Recovery: A Review of the Research: