Our guiding principles

“BY SHARING THEIR EXPERIENCES, PEERS BRING HOPE TO PEOPLE WORKING TO INCREASE THEIR WELLNESS AND PROMOTE A SENSE OF BELONGING WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.”

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

When CAPSA refers to increase wellness, we are talking about wellness from the mental health issue of substance use disorder. Substance use disorder is a chronic disease of the brain, and often people with substance-based or behavioural (process) disorder(s) suffer from other untreated mental health problems that are obstacles to their recovery. As it is for many forms of mental illness, there is currently no cure. However, recovery is possible through a series of changes to an individual’s life that allows them to better manage their disease and reach their full potential.

ALL PATHWAYS TO WELLNESS

Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:

Health
Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms, and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional wellbeing.

Home
A stable and safe place to live.

Purpose
Meaningful daily activities that individuals are engaged in, that may include things like a job, school, etc.

Community
Relationships and social networks that provide support, safety, friendship, love, and hope.

WHAT IS INCREASED WELLNESS?

Wellness emerges from hope

The belief that increased wellness is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future—that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized and can be fostered by peers, families, providers, allies, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the process of increased wellness.

Wellness is person-driven

Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for increased wellness as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s) towards those goals. Individuals optimize their autonomy and independence to the greatest extent possible by leading, controlling, and exercising choice over the services and supports that assist their wellness and resilience. In so doing, they are empowered and provided with the resources to make informed decisions, initiate wellness, build on their strengths, and gain or regain control over their lives.

Wellness occurs via many pathways

Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds— including trauma experience — that affect and determine their pathway(s) to increased wellness. Wellness is built on the multiple capacities, strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent value of each individual. Wellness pathways are highly personalized. Wellness is non-linear, characterized by continual growth and improved functioning that may involve reoccurrences. Because reoccurrences are a natural, though not inevitable, part of the process, it is essential to foster resilience for all individuals and families. In some cases, pathways to increased wellness can be enabled by creating a supportive environment.

Wellness encompasses the whole person

Wellness encompasses an individual’s whole life. This includes addressing: self-care practices, family, housing, employment, transportation, education, clinical treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, services and supports, primary healthcare, dental care, complementary and alternative services, faith, spirituality, creativity, social networks, and community participation. 

Wellness is supported by community

Engagement in the broad community and feeling a part of it is an important component of substance use wellness for the entire community.

Wellness is culturally-based

Community should be culturally grounded, attuned, sensitive, congruent, and competent, as well as personalized to meet each individual’s needs to be a member.

CAPSA would like to acknowledge the work of the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the development of the definition, dimensions and guiding principles of wellness, that have been adapted for our purposes, as well as the tools and resources made freely available through their Recovery Support Initiative website.