What is MORS?

  • The Milestones of Recovery Scale (MORS) is an effective evaluation tool for tracking the process of recovery for individuals with mental illness. 
  • MORS provides easy to use data that allows staff, supervisors and administrators to see how individual programs and agencies are performing. 
  • MORS is a one-page, single score assessment that takes just a few minutes to complete.  It focuses on the here and now, providing a snapshot of an individual’s progress toward recovery.
  • MORS can help staff  tailor services to fit each individual’s needs, assign individuals to the right level of care and create “flow” through a mental health system.
  • MORS quantifies the stages of an individual’s recovery using milestones that range from extreme risk to advanced recovery and everywhere in between. 
  • MORS has in-depth descriptions of what individuals at each stage might typically look like in terms of their levels of risk, engagement and support from others.
  • MORS is rooted in the principles of psychiatric rehabilitation and defines recovery as a process beyond symptom reduction, client compliance and service utilization.  It operates from a perspective that meaningful roles and relationships are the driving forces behind achieving recovery and leading a fuller life.
  • MORS can help systems and programs demonstrate to funding sources, politicians and the public that mental health systems can be cost-effective and achieve positive outcomes. 
  • MORS has been extensively tested and researched for validity and reliability.
  • MORS concepts and use can be learned by attending three hours of training with a licensed MORS trainer.


How was the MORS Created

The Milestones of Recovery Scale was created in 2002 by staff at Mental Health America of Los Angeles(MHALA).  The idea for MORS grew out of a 1997 workgroup assembled by the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies (CASRA) that was made up of 50 individuals who identified themselves as consumers, family members, mental health program staff and program directors.  The group’s task was to try to identify important indicators of recovery.

After many meetings filled with lively discussions, the group participants came to a conclusion: individuals in the recovery process could be assigned to clusters based on their level of risk, their level of coping skills and their level of engagement with the mental health system.  They also concluded that an individual’s movement from cluster to cluster could be seen as a description of “the process of recovery.”

Five years later, the two MHALA staff, both participants in the CASRA group, expanded on the group’s conclusions by developing the Milestones of Recovery Scale.


How was MORS Tested

MORS was tested for reliability at the MHA Village in Long Beach, California and Vinfen Corp in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its validity was substantiated by the Center for Behavioral Research and Services (CBRS) at California State University Long Beach in 2005.  An article entitled “Psychometric Properties of an Assessment for Mental Health Recovery Programs,” about the creation of the scale and related research, was published in the Community Mental Health Journal in July 2009.


Limitations of the MORS

By definition, no classification system can do justice to the uniqueness of the individuals it is classifying.

People naturally resist any attempt to reduce their experience to a single number.  When using the scale it is important to remember that it is our ability to understand and respond to the uniqueness of the individual’s experience that ultimately creates our ability to support change and inspire hope.

MORS is not a risk assessment tool and should not be used to determine if someone is a danger to self or others or if someone can live safely in the community.

MORS is not a treatment planning tool per se but it can be helpful during the treatment planning process.