Often, individuals who experience a mental and/or substance use disorder feel isolated and alone. Yet, every year millions of Americans experience these conditions. It’s imperative that we offer support to individuals facing mental and/or substance use disorders. In fact, we need to create environments and relationships that promote acceptance. Support from peers is essential to recovery, so it’s important that individuals in the community get involved by starting conversations about prevention, treatment, and recovery. Too many people are still unaware that prevention works and that mental and/or substance use disorders can be treated, just like other health problems.
Having Been in Long-term Recovery for 9 Years / Worked in the Recovery Field for 4 years, I have witnessed the positive reality of recovery. Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health, as well as form stronger relationships with their neighbors, family members, and peers. We need to make more people feel like recovery is possible.
Mental and/or substance use disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. They need to know that help is available. In fact, in 2013, 34.6 million adults aged 18 or older received services for mental illness in the past year, and 2.5 million people aged 12 or older who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem received treatment at a specialty facility. These individuals can get better with the support of a welcoming community.
Community members can be change agents for spreading the message that recovery works by celebrating Recovery Month (Recovery Month), an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).