The weekly news cycle is often flooded with heartbreaking stories of rising addiction and overdose death rates. It can be easy to forget that there is a solution to mental and behavioral health disorders—recovery. During National Recovery Month, we have an opportunity to share with the public that mental illness does not always end in tragedy. We can spread that message that prevention, treatment, and recovery work.
Addiction and mental illness are public health crises in the United States. Millions of Americans are plagued by debilitating symptoms that prevent them from leading healthy and productive lives. Many of those who struggle are aware that there is help out there, but too few actively seek out assistance.
National Recovery Month provides a vehicle for organizations and individuals to reach the millions in need of support. A plethora of resources are available to those in need, but stigma and myths about recovery often stand in the way. The time has come for the public to take a more compassionate stance on mental illness. For far too long misunderstandings regarding mental diseases have prevailed, and the shame that it gives birth to can be deadly.
Perhaps, if more people heard about the successes of individuals in recovery, it would reduce the misconceptions that society maintains about addiction. Alcohol and substance use disorders and other types of mental illnesses are complex diseases that do not discriminate.
One in five Americans is living with a mental illness; more than half of people living with addiction also have a co-occurring mental illness. Those living with mental and behavioral health disorders are not to blame for developing such conditions.
Confronting Stigma During National Recovery Month
While it’s true that individuals can make choices that exacerbate their problems, shaming them for their behaviors isn’t beneficial. Stigma affects all of us! When people needlessly perish because they didn’t seek help, it is a tragedy.
Addicts and alcoholics are somebody’s child, spouse, friend, or brother. They need compassion, encouragement, and support, not judgment. During National Recovery Month, we hope that each American takes some time to consider and reconsider their views about mental illness. If you know someone who is struggling, then reach out to them and let it be known that you care.
Those who live with untreated mental illness feel isolated and cut off from their community. Stigma makes people feel like they are to blame for their condition, which results in them doing everything to keep their problems secret. Compassion from society will encourage such people to come out of the shadows and seek recovery.
People in recovery and out can utilize resources provided by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to learn more and be part of the solutions. Men and women working a program are invited to share about personal growth and progress. Your story can be the catalyst for change in another person’s life.
Across the country, National Recovery Month events and activities are being held throughout September. Those who attend will learn how to help increase awareness about mental and substance use disorders, treatment, and recovery. It’s all right if you can’t participate in the events; there are other ways you can help the cause.
Social media is an excellent way to share facts about addiction and recovery and to express compassion and support. Please join SAMHSA and its affiliates in raising awareness about treatment and recovery.
Colorado Addiction Treatment Services
We invite you to contact NorthStar Transitions if you are struggling with drugs, alcohol, or co-occurring mental illness. Our team utilizes evidence-based therapeutic modalities and creates personalized treatment plans for each client to increase their ability to thrive in recovery.