September is National Recovery Month! Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover. You can learn more at http://www.recoverymonth.gov/
In Iowa, it is estimated that 195,988 people are in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders. They are contributing to our businesses, connecting with their families, and giving back to the community. But if we want more people to join them on a path of recovery, we need to take action – now. Too many people are still unaware that prevention works, and that these conditions can be treated, just like we can treat other health disorders such as diabetes and hypertension. We need to work together to make recovery the expectation.
Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health, as well as stronger relationships and a sense of self-worth. Mental and/or substance use disorders do not discriminate – they affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. An estimated 217,997 people needed substance abuse treatment last year in Iowa and we need to address this real issue.
We can’t get discouraged by the prevalence of these problems, because help is available. In fact, in 2010, 31.3 million adults aged 18 or older received services for mental health problems in the past year, and 2.6 million people aged 12 or older who needed treatment for an alcohol, prescription, or illicit drug use problem received treatment at a specialty facility in the past year. These individuals have achieved healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities. They need the support of a welcoming community to help them on their path of long-term recovery. Fortunately, most people say they would think no less of a friend or relative if they discovered that person is in recovery from a mental and/or substance use disorder.
The Iowa Behavioral Health Association and our members want to raise awareness of this celebration to further educate communities about the pathways to recovery and to support people in recovery.
If you know someone in need of assistance, contact the Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center (ISAIC) through their 24-hour helpline at 1-866-242-4111 or go to www.DrugFreeInfo.org. ISAIC is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health and housed with the Cedar Rapids Public Library.