Psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR)

Psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) promotes personal recovery, successful community integration and satisfactory quality of life for persons who have a mental illness or mental health concern.  Psychosocial rehabilitation services and supports are collaborative, person directed, and individualized, and an essential element of the human services spectrum.  They focus on helping individuals develop skills and access resources needed to increase their capacity to be successful and satisfied in the living, working, learning and social environments of their choice and include a wide continuum of services and supports.

PSR approaches are evidence-based best and promising practices in the key life domains of Employment, Education, Leisure, Wellness and Basic Living Skills as well as Family Involvement and Peer Support and Peer Delivered services. Because of their demonstrated effectiveness and recovery orientation, these approaches should be widely available to people living with long term mental illness and/or substance use problems.

Distinctive and defining features of PSR approaches:

  • PSR approaches build upon the assessed strengths of persons rather than their deficits and problems. In other words PSR approaches are strengths based– they are based on the assessment of a person’s strengths as the basis for individualized goal setting and recovery. This is a major difference from traditional, illness-based approaches which focus on problems and deficits.
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation approaches are collaborative; person directed and individualized. They assist individuals in rediscovering skills and accessing the community resources needed to live successfully and with a self-identified quality of life. Accordingly, PSR approaches involve the client setting goals rather than goals being set by others.
  • PSR approaches support people to have a meaningful life focus on the determinants of good mental health, including employment, education, social supports, basic living skills, leisure and wellness.
  • PSR approaches generally place persons in their chosen goal settings such as jobs and housing and then train and support them in those settings. Similarly, other training, such as social skills training takes place in the person’s natural environments.
  • PSR approaches are supported by scientific evidence as effective. PSR approaches include a number of best practices, which are strongly supported by evidence, such as supported employment and wellness programs, as well a promising practices with emerging evidence, such as peer support programs. PSR approaches promote recovery with full community living and improved quality of life. Some call this “getting a life”.