September is National Recovery Month

Everyone needs help sometime. When someone isn’t well, that person desires that the people around them will have a good understanding about what is going on. The person feels very fortunate when there is encouragement and support when they struggle to recover from their ailment, their surgery, their physical challenges. Some people deny having mental health struggles, though, because they don’t want others to know, to not understand, to judge harshly or tell them just to get over their issues because everyone has them.

September is National Recovery Month, the time of year when the campaign draws attention to awareness and understanding of mental illness, substance abuse disorders and problem gambling. Recovery Month also encourages those who need treatment to get the recovery services they need. The month also celebrates those who have trod the path of recovery and maintain their well being every single day, as well as those who work in the field to help prevent, treat and provide recovery support.

With all of the knowledge available, though, there is still stigma. While there is parity for mental health care and famous people have come forward to speak of their struggles, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) reports that “stigma ranks fourth highest of 10 barriers to care.”

The National Council of Behavioral Health says, “Language matters.”

“Language is powerful, especially when talking about addictions. Stigmatizing language perpetuates negative perceptions. ‘Person first’ language focuses on the person, not the disorder.'”

Everyone is encouraged to see with compassion, and to speak kindly. For example, instead of “addict, junkie or druggie” say “a person with a substance abuse disorder.” Instead of saying, “stayed clean,” say “maintained recovery.”

Suggested things that everyone can do are the things anyone might desire if the situation were reversed:

Don’t judge. Accept the person for who they are. Don’t criticize or resort to negativity.

Be patient. There will be setbacks, but when recovery is the most difficult, the person with the disorder needs to know that someone will still be there for them to offer support. They need to know that recovery is possible.

Really listen. Pay attention to what the person is saying. Have some understanding for their challenges and share in their hard won victories.

Other things you can do include encouraging healthy habits, suggesting support groups, and urging them to take care of themselves.

The Hancock County Community Partnership urges communities to embrace the following truths:

No person is expendable.

Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain.

Each member of our family serves as the best hope for ending this crisis.

Prevention and treatment work, and recovery is real. “When we speak this common language, we break down barriers and allow our community to heal,” the agency advises.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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