Recovery from a mental health challenge is possible: Treatment

The sooner a person gets mental health treatment, the better the chance of recovery.

Two people talking.

This article is part of a series on recovery from mental health challenges. For more information on self-care strategies to support recovery, view the article titled, "Recovery from a mental health challenge is possible: Self-care."


Recovery and improvement are possible for people living with mental health challenges. In addition to self-care strategies, seeking treatment from a trained mental health professional may be a helpful course of action. This is important because the sooner a person gets treatment, the better their chance of recovery. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), most people with mental health challenges do not utilize mental health services. This could be due to a variety of reasons including cost, logistics, stigma or lack of awareness.

Overcoming Barriers

SAMHSA notes that “mental health services are covered by most health plans—by law” and shares treatment locators for substance use, behavioral health, and other mental health conditions. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) lists a variety of trained professionals from different settings that can help with mental health challenges. These include:

  • Certified peer specialists with lived experience who assist others in the recovery process.
  • Counselors and therapists who offer therapy to assist with personal, social, or psychological conditions.
  • Psychiatrists and trained medical practitioners who diagnose, may prescribe medication, and connect their clients to additional resources.
  • Psychologists who diagnose and treat mental health conditions using individual or group therapy.
  • Social workers who offer services to support healthy living and may also offer therapy, case management and advocacy services.

Different types of therapy programs exist for individuals, family members and groups. Some recovery plans may include medication and there are also times when rehabilitation programs may be utilized. Research has shown that treatment works, and can help people recover and live well.

There is an increasing awareness of the need for mental health supports. Multiple agencies and organizations such as Michigan State University Extension regularly teach Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) classes which “teach people how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge.” These classes empower participants with skills, destigmatizing language and tools to use in their communities. Participants are better equipped to notice behavioral or emotional changes, give hope with facts and encourage the use of self-care strategies and/or professional help.

Although reaching out to a professional may seem like an extreme step to some, it doesn’t have to be. It can be helpful to remember that you are not alone. Mental health professionals are trained to provide confidential and helpful support. According to MHFA USA, “studies have shown that proper care and treatment make complete recovery from a mental health or substance use challenge attainable.”

If you need help finding mental health professionals near you, check which providers are covered under your health insurance policy or contact your local Community Mental Health Service Program (CMHSP) for mental health services. If you or someone you know needs immediate mental health-related attention, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line with the word HOME to 741-741. If you think someone is an immediate danger to themselves or others, please call 911 and ask for first responders trained in mental health crises. 

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