(NewsUSA) - The discrimination and stigma surrounding mental health challenges along with a troubling history of medically sanctioned treatments are no secret. Today, for someone with a psychiatric diagnosis -- such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar or ADHD -- the standard treatment is psychotropic medications that are always doctor-ordered and sometimes court-mandated.
Researchers and clinicians are now providing data suggesting that recovery is not always achieved solely with prescribed medications.
"By pursuing a multi-faceted approach that combines peer support, person-driven plans and other supports with medication at an individual's optimal level, if needed, we are witnessing results with much better long-term success," said Dr. Gina Firman Nikkel, president and CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.
Part of the equation is recognizing that psychiatric medications can come with side effects, and because each person's chemistry differs, these can range from minor to significant. Over long periods of use in particular, the side effects can outweigh the benefits, particularly when addiction is involved.
This recovery model for mental health care is not a one-size-fits-all cure. Because mental health issues develop regardless of age, race or income level, an approach that requires collaboration is crucial. Most importantly, individuals and their families who face mental health challenges need to realize that they have choices.
Dr. Nikkel's organization, which was founded in 2011, is driven by a mission to educate professionals and individuals with the goal of making the recovery model of care the new mainstream. As a community foundation with an international reach, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care funds independent research, new program development and awareness. "As a community mental health development bank, we match the passion of private philanthropy with today's top researchers to bring recovery practices to every community," said Dr. Nikkel.
For more information about the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, the programs and research it funds and how to help spread the message, visit www.mentalhealthexcellence.org.