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Join the Voices of Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities

Posted 09-08-2017

National Recovery Month is held every September to bring awareness to communities across the United States on the importance of recovery for those suffering from mental and/or substance use disorders. A healthy and rewarding life is waiting and within reach for those seeking help.

The 2017 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities,” highlights the value of peer support by educating, mentoring, and helping others. It invites individuals in recovery and their support systems to be change agents in communities and in civic and advocacy engagements.

Why Supporting Recovery is Important

In 2015, approximately 20.8 million people aged 12 or older were classified with a substance use disorder. Among adults aged 18 or older, 43.4 million had been diagnosed with a mental illness in the past year. Despite the high prevalence of these conditions, most Americans believe that recovery from a mental illness or a substance use disorder is possible. The right support system can help ensure that those in need are addressing the following four key aspects of recovery.

Key Aspects of Recovery

  • Health: Learning to overcome or manage a condition or symptom and make informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.
  • Home: Having a stable and safe place to live.
  • Purpose: Participating in meaningful daily activities such as a job, school, or volunteer opportunities and having independence, income, and resources to participate in society.
  • Community: Maintaining relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

Support for Those with Limited Access

About one-fourth of Americans lives in a rural area. With the unique challenges that rural communities face, there is a need to provide access to treatment and support for individuals living in these areas who experience mental and/or substance use disorders. Poverty, unemployment, and isolation are all factors that contribute to behavioral health conditions in this population.

However, 60 percent of rural Americans live in areas with a shortage of mental health professionals. This is why PORT Health is striving to provide quality, professional care in these areas. We hold strong to the belief that mental illness and substance use are treatable and that each individual in our care is capable of achieving the outcomes they desire in all areas of life. Help is closer than you think, click here and find the PORT location nearest you.

Supporting Individuals with Behavioral Health Conditions

Many people with mental and/or substance use disorders can feel isolated from the society around them. Community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and employers are in a unique position to support these individuals by conveying messages of compassion and understanding.

Those in the community can work together to increase awareness of behavioral health needs and make it easier for people to seek help by erasing the stigma attached. Support from faith-based organizations and schools are important to the long-term recovery of people living with behavioral health conditions.  It’s up to us to start the conversation.

Leaders of community organizations can provide support for individuals seeking recovery by:

  • Identifying opportunities to discuss the facts about substance use and mental illness within their organizations.
  • Organizing meetings, dinners, or other gatherings so that community members can have conversations about mental and substance use disorders.
  • Developing relationships with local mental heath and substance use disorder service providers and directing individuals and families in need to available services.
  • Creating a welcoming, supportive, safe, and non-judgmental environment for addressing behavioral health conditions.

Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

PORT Health holds strong to the belief that mental illness and substance use are treatable and that each individual in our care is capable of achieving the outcomes they desire in all areas of life. Find out more information about PORT and how we can help you find your way forward.