The Procovery program has been in ongoing testing/revision/expansion mode for over fifteen years. Throughout this testing phase we studied wellness rather than illness, and we allowed the program to organically grow and evolve. We learned in the field, directly from people with lived experience and those who (professionally and personally) supported them. To date, we have turned down interest across the nation and over a dozen countries, because we didn’t want to go a “mile wide and an inch deep”. We had absolutely no idea that we would be met with the myriad barriers and complications that we were. Frankly, we thought it would be simpler. But we soon came to find that implementing a system of healing is, sadly, in our current system, just as frustrating, complicated and often just as “sickening” as it is to be a person who is attempting to heal in a system that often does not recognize, support or sustain a true healing process.

Along the way we were truly honored to work with the most absolutely amazing people. People with lived experience, who wanted nothing more than to share their knowledge, passion, expertise and insights on healing to all of those who could benefit. Professionals who often endured less pay, harsher work settings, and longer hours because they wanted to create systems change and help people heal. Family members (whether family of origin or family of choice) who often found themselves being asked to deliver 95% of the care needed, outside of traditional medical settings, and yet being left out of basic treatment information.

Sometimes it seemed as though our path to implementing Procovery looked a lot like the long line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The kind of line where you believe that around every corner you are almost there, only to find that around that corner is an equally long line with another corner up ahead… And that instead of attempting to change the system, instead of building communities of hope, one Procovery Circle at a time, that we would just stop and instead write a book about lessons learned and all of the ways the system frustrates, and often traumatizes, hinders and ultimately prevents, healing.

But we didn’t do that, for a very simple reason. Because of all of the people who had decided to believe one more time, all of the people who had been afraid to “get their hopes up” one more time, because of all of the people that were afraid Procovery would be the flavor of the time being and that it wouldn’t be systemically sustained. And boy, are we glad we kept going!

We are now positioned to have real, meaningful impact on health care reform. We can now build hope, build communities of change and save lives and save money – and we are proud to say that is just some of what we can do.

We want to thank you all for your continued belief in, support of, and commitment to Procovery. We appreciate you, we are honored by you and we plan to make you proud as we resume implementation in the coming months.

To close, we would like to leave you with three Procovery Podcast interview clips:

Gary Gougis, Peer Advocate, Community Support Worker & Procovery Circle Facilitator – Los Angeles, CA
Stephanie Schmidt , Occupational Therapist & Procovery Circle Facilitator – St. Louis, MO
Sinikka Santala, Wisconsin Department of Health Division Director (Retired) – Madison, WI

Until next time…