National Mental Health & Dignity Day- a grass roots initiative organized and led by persons in recovery from mental health challenges- will occur and people across the US will be coming together to discuss what mental health & dignity looks like in their community.This guide outlines current priority issues related to mental health advocacy that were established by the Recovery Now campaign.

We encourage organizers to get together on this day, no matter how big or small and discuss these issues, recommend actions and develop strategies to carry them forward. The following content was taken from and outlines each of the sections that this website covers in providing an overview of the Recovery Now campaign.
Why Now?

Fifty years ago, the process of "deinstitutionalization," closing America's state mental institutions where people often languished for life in deplorable conditions, was supposed to be accompanied by the development of robust, community-based mental health services. That vision has yet to be fully realized. Today, we have a system that is broken, fragmented, and difficult to access. People and families are often unable to get help until they are in crisis-- and even then, the quality of care is uneven. We need community-based services that prevent crisis and costly, devastating cycles of institutionalization, incarceration, and homelessness. We know more today than we ever have about what helps people with mental health conditions to recover their lives and to achieve whole health and wellness. We need to close the gap between what we know and what we do, in policy and practice, and in our communities.

The Recovery Now Vision

We envision community-based, recovery-oriented systems of care where all Americans can easily access a range of quality mental health and social services, leading to increased recovery and whole health.

We seek to achieve our mission and vision by:

Raising awareness that people can recover from even the most serious mental health conditions, given the right mix of accessible, community-based services and supports. 

Proposing proven approaches to end unnecessary hospitalization, needless incarceration, and homelessness.

Advocating to repair our broken mental health service systems by increasing the availability of community-based services that promote recovery and whole health.

What We Want
We know how to fix our broken mental health service systems. We need policies and services that will fully realize the promise of community-based, recovery-oriented mental health care and will address the devastating cycles of institutionalization, incarceration, and homelessness.

We need to: 

Implement the rights of Americans with disabilities to live, work and receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate.
Focus on the roots of the problems we face: gaps in voluntary, community-based services that fuel the epidemics of unnecessary hospitalization, incarceration, homelessness, and crisis.

This means: 

Real-time responses that rely on evidence-based practices such as supported housing, employment services, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), warmlines, peer support services, crisis respites, and mobile crisis teams.

Intensive outreach and engagement towards underserved individuals.

Education and support for families and people using services, including specific assistance with understanding HIPAA and privacy regulations.

Services that prevent the need for unnecessary hospital admission, rather than allowing people to fail and intervening only then.
Opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the most integrated setting.

Appropriate services that engage people of different ages, cultures and backgrounds.

Ensure that systems hold service providers accountable for outcomes such as improved health, housing retention, employment, and social and community connections. And that systems give providers access to training and support.

Motivate collaborations between mental health systems and families, providers, and social service and criminal justice systems to prevent incarceration and recidivism.

Preserve Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) programs that create opportunities for innovative peer-to-peer and family-to-family networks to promote whole health, recovery, and resilience.

Call for re-authorization and full funding of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program, a program that protects the rights of individuals with mental health needs in education, housing, employment, health care, and other areas, as well as investigating and ending systemic abuse and neglect.


Discussion Guide for National Mental Health & Dignity Day community dialogue activities

National Mental Health & Dignity Day