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9Muses Wellness Initiatives - Recovering Your Mental Health - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Published by CMHS (Center for Mental Health Services) and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Reprinted 2005

Excerpts from Recovering Your Mental Health booklet  - Consumer Information Series, Volume 8

"Developing A Recovery and Wellness Lifestyle"

It is not always easy to take the action necessary to create change. However, without taking some action, you cannot make changes in your life that may be necessary to help you feel better. Every time you take a positive step in creating change in your life, give yourself a pat on the back or reward yourself by doing something nice for yourself like taking a warm bath, going for a walk, or spending some time with a friend. You also may want to keep a written record of the change you are creating in your life in a notebook or journal.

Change takes time and may be difficult. You may have to overcome many obstacles. Take small steps. Don't give up. Be persistent. Keep working toward whatever it is that will help you to feel better and enjoy your life more. Making change is being able to see beyond yourself to what the solution might be.

Excerpts from Recovering Your Mental Health booklet - Consumer Information Series, Volume 4

"Using Medications"

Your physician may suggest one or more medications to help you feel better. Using these medications should be your decision, but first, you need answers to some important questions. To get those answers, you might ask your doctor or pharmacist, check a book about medications at the library, or search a reliable information source on the Internet. Double check with your health care provider before making a final decision.

  • What are the common name, product name, product category, and suggested dosage level of this medicine?

  • What does the physician expect the medication to do? How long will it take to do that? How well has this medicine worked for other people?

  • What are the possible long and short term side effects of taking this medicine? Is there any way to reduce the risk of experiencing these side effects?

  • What, if any, restrictions (like driving or avoiding certain foods) need to be considered when using this medicine?

  • How are medicine levels in the blood checked? What tests will be needed before taking this medicine and while taking the medicine?

  • How do I know if the dose should be changed or the medicine stopped?

  • How much does it cost? Are there any programs that would help me cover some or all of the costs of the medications? Is there a less expensive medication that I could use instead? Can generics or non-brand name medications be substituted for any the doctor suggests?

  • Are there any medications or supplements that I shouldn't take at the same time as these? What about over-the-counter medications?

Excerpts from Recovering Your Mental Health booklet - Consumer Information Series, Volume 5

"Building Self Esteem"

You may be giving yourself negative messages about yourself. Many people do. These are messages that you learned when you were young. You learned from many different sources including other children, your teachers, family members, caregivers, even from the media, and from prejudice and stigma in our society.

Some examples of common negative messages that people repeat over and over to themselves include: "I am a jerk," "I am a loser," "I never do anything right," "No one would ever like me," "I am a klutz."


You may think these thoughts or give yourself these negative messages so often that you are hardly aware of them. Pay attention to them. Carry a small pad with you as you go about your daily routine for several days and jot down negative thoughts about yourself whenever you notice them.

Ask yourself the following questions about each negative thought you have noticed:

  • Is this message really true?

  • Would a person say this to another person? If not, why am I saying it to myself?

  • What do I get out of thinking this thought?

You could also ask someone else - someone who likes you and who you trust- if you should believe this thought about yourself. Often, just looking at a thought or situation in a new light helps.

To order complete copies of these self-help guides go to