While news outlets continue to focus on growing concerns about the fentanyl epidemic (and rightfully so), it’s essential to also point out positive outcomes in addiction science. This is exactly the intention behind National Recovery Month, a public awareness program that happens every September. This critical movement provides positive reinforcement of the lives saved with proper, multifaceted health care and open discussions about addiction and mental health.
Why Health Awareness Programs Matter
Similar to National Suicide Prevention Month and World Suicide Prevention Day (both in September), National Recovery Month is a significant crucial annual observance that serves to raise awareness about substance use and mental health disorders.
Created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 1989, the goal is to “promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the nation’s strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and communities who make recovery in all its forms possible.”
Here are five reasons why the initiative matters.
1. Help reduce stigma
One of the most significant barriers to seeking help for substance use and mental health disorders is the stigma associated with these issues. Unfortunately, in a 2021 report, SAMHSA indicated that “94 percent of people aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment.” Overall, only about 10 percent of people who may be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD), mental health conditions, and substance use disorder (SUD) will seek treatment.
National Recovery Month helps break down this stigma by providing a platform for individuals in recovery to share their stories and demonstrate that recovery is possible and worth celebrating. This encourages more people to seek help without fear of judgment.
2. Raise awareness
Many people still lack awareness about the prevalence and impact of substance use and mental health disorders in society. National Recovery Month educates the public about the challenges individuals and families face and emphasizes the need for early intervention, treatment, and support.
3. Promote treatment and support services
National Recovery Month highlights the availability of treatment and support services for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues. It encourages people to seek help and provides information about resources and treatment options that can lead to successful recovery.
4. Foster community and connection
Recovery is often a journey that requires strong social support. National Recovery Month events and initiatives bring communities together to support individuals in recovery and their families. These connections can be instrumental in maintaining sobriety and mental well-being.
5. Celebrate success
National Recovery Month celebrates the achievements and milestones of individuals in recovery. By highlighting these success stories, it inspires hope and shows that recovery is not only possible but also worth pursuing. This celebration can motivate others who are still struggling to embark on their own recovery journeys.
Yes, Recovery Is Possible. Here’s Why.
Although the lack of treatment statistics seem dire, here’s some good news: the U.S. Department of Health indicates there are approximately 60 million Americans currently in recovery from AUD, mental health conditions, and SUD. This is definitely news worth celebrating.
With proper treatment, SAMHSA notes there are four “major dimensions” of recovery and good mental health, which we provide verbatim:
- Health. Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms, and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.
- Home. Having a stable and safe place to live.
- Purpose. Conducting meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society
- Community. Having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Unfortunately, when we’re bogged down by the murkiness of addiction and mental illness, it’s difficult to know where to turn for assistance. This is when focused awareness initiatives really matter. By following the right channel of resources, individuals can begin to reclaim their lives and focus on better health. For example, just knowing about free connections such as 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or SAMHSA’s Find Support portal provides an avenue that leads to health care, counselors, addiction and mental health treatment information, and more.
Willingway Can Help You Triumph Over Addiction
Addiction and mental health issues can be treated successfully—all it takes is one brave step in that direction. If you’re ready to move past fear and into treatment, find encouragement from the efforts of National Recovery Month and 60 million other people who know exactly what it means to make that pivotal decision. Call us today to learn more about our addiction treatment philosophy and how the board-certified professionals at Willingway in Statesboro, Georgia, provide evidence-based resources you can use to create success in sobriety.