Living a Full Life

All people who live with a mental health condition deserve a life that is rich and meaningful to them. Unfortunately, living with a serious mental health condition can take a toll on a person’s life goals and relationships. During difficult times, certain personal goals and life activities may not be possible. They remain on the back burner.

Once the person’s recovery is back on track and the mental health condition is effectively managed—through a comprehensive treatment plan that may include medication, psychotherapy, and stable housing—life’s possibilities often begin to open up. Many activities that previously seemed impossible are within reach. Living a full life becomes a reality, and that’s a wonderful thing!

Here are a few activities that may be meaningful and worth pursuing:

Going back to school
For some people, their mental health condition may have interfered with educational goals. Once a person stops attending school, it can be hard to get back into the mindset of being a student.

If at some point during the recovery process, going back to school becomes a personal goal, go for it! The good news is that some mental health centers now have supported educational programs that can help people go back to school.

Getting a GED
If the goal is getting a high school diploma, some mental health centers have arrangements with local high schools that allow a person to complete the needed coursework to earn a general equivalency diploma (GED).

Going back to college
There are also opportunities available for individuals who already graduated from high school but would like to take college courses and even pursue a college degree. Some colleges, especially community colleges, allow people to enroll as part-time students and take 1 to 2 courses a semester. This allows the chance to build study skills slowly with less pressure than a full course load. Colleges always have tutoring services available, and some even have support services for people with psychiatric conditions.

Training for a specific career
Some people choose to take a different educational path and want training for a specific career, such as becoming a cook or a plumber or maybe an auto mechanic. In most communities, there are special schools in these areas. Someone on the recovery team, like a social worker or case manager, may be able to help provide guidance.

Read the next section: Establishing Meaningful Relationships

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