Celebrate National Recovery Month

LISBON — Mental and substance use disorders affect millions of Americans and directly touch the lives of individuals, family members, neighbors, and colleagues. Families often deal with the complex dynamics of supporting loved ones living in recovery while, at the same time, learning how to take care of their own well-being. Given the widespread impact and societal cost of behavioral health conditions, it’s important for communities to make prevention, treatment, and recovery support services available and accessible to all those who need them.

Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (https://samhsa.gov/), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (https://hhs.gov/), sponsors National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to increase awareness of behavioral health conditions and support those in recovery. This celebration promotes the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can, and do, recover from mental and substance use disorders.

The 2017 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities,” inspires communities to be socially inclusive, offering support to those with mental and/or substance use disorders. It also encourages members of the community to seek help when needed, lend a hand, and contribute to their community as citizens, parents, employees, students, volunteers, and leaders.

Recovery is possible

Recovery is defined as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. There are numerous treatment and recovery options for mental and substance use disorders and each recovery journey is unique. If you, a family member, or a friend needs help, resources are available. You are not alone.

Connecting those in need to treatment service

SAMHSA’s 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed:

— About one in 12 people (7.8 percent) needed treatment for a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in the past year.

— An estimated 43.4 million adults aged 18 or older had Any Mental Illness (AMI) in the United States, representing 17.9 percent of all adults in the United States.

— More than half of the adults with co-occurring AMI and an SUD in the past year did not receive either type of service.

A person with a mental and/or substance use disorder may find it difficult to initiate getting help alone, but families and support networks can help make the connection to appropriate resources. Seeking help may improve the chances of managing a behavioral health condition and reduce or eliminate associated symptoms. For example:

— Treatment for depression improves not only psychiatric symptoms, but also a person’s quality of life.

— Treatment for substance use disorders can help people stop substance use, avoid relapse, and lead active lives engaged with their families, workplaces, and communities.

— Treating alcohol dependence and addiction reduces the burden on the family budget and improves life for those who live with the alcohol-dependent individual.

Treatment and recovery

support services

When mental and substance use disorders go unaddressed, they become more complex and more difficult to treat. Intervening early, before behavioral health conditions progress, is among the best and most cost-effective ways to improve overall health. Most communities have trained professionals who can help individuals with behavioral health conditions. Treatment can be provided in different settings–including outpatient, residential, and inpatient–based on the disorder and the intensity of care required. Examples of proven and effective treatments include behavioral therapy, Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT), and recovery support services. Effective treatment methods are directed at all aspects of the illness (for example, biological, psychological, and social).

For more information about various types of treatment and the benefits of each, visit SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatments and Services webpage at and the Recovery and Recovery Support webpage at https://samhsa.gov/treatment and the Recovery and Recovery Support webpage at https://samhsa.gov/recovery. (Submitted material)