We all know the horrible perils of addiction and mental health. 19.7 million individuals had a substance use disorder in 2017, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Also in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that suicide was the 10th leading cause of death.
Unfortunately, these statistics continue to rise.
Despite these frightening statistics, organizations are working hard to make necessary societal changes. Every September, SAMHSA hosts National Recovery Month. This has been an annual tradition for 30 years, and this year,'s theme is Join The Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.
This annual observance is a chance for treatment programs, clinicians, and individuals alike to celebrate strides toward recovery. It's a time to honor success stories and milestones. It's also a time to highlight the achievements made in short-term and long-term recovery.
Most importantly, National Recovery Month is about promoting the fact that recovery, no matter how challenging it may seem, is possible.
Recovery Month Toolkit
It can be overwhelming to find resources and appropriate help.
That's why, each year, SAMHSA develops a useful toolkit to promote the power of recovery. This toolkit is a multifaceted resource. It shows community leaders—like first responders, healthcare specialists, and other supportive professionals—what they can do to help bolster recovery efforts. It also provides a variety of resources for members looking to advocate for and promote greater awareness.
Why This Awareness Is Essential
Although we've made tremendous efforts in reducing the stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorders, we have a long way to go. Many people still struggle in silence. Many people avoid seeking the help they desperately need due to shame, fear, and the prospects of rejection.
As a society, we can and should do better. We owe it to ourselves—and our loved ones—to promote awareness and debunk the dangerous misconceptions.
Resources For Getting Started
The Recovery Month toolkit outlines several essential resources. Here are some important ones that may help you or a loved one:
Faces and Voices of Recovery: Provides recovery advocacy organization and promotes policies rooted in compassion, health, and evidence-based treatment.
Alcoholics Anonymous: Provides resources and meeting directories for people struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: Offers a helpline for families and provides resources, education, and advocacy for people (and loved ones) impacted by mental health disorders.
Crisis Text Line: Provides 24/7 confidential texting with crisis counselors to provide support for people experiencing acute distress.
Get Naloxone Now: Teaches people how to respond efficiently and effectively to reverse opioid overdoses.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Treatment Page: Provides step-by-step resources for what to do if you or a loved one is struggling with problematic drug use.
American Psychiatric Association's Practice Page: Offers resources and information on professional development and practice management.
All of the aforementioned resources—from the toolkit to treatment specialists to rehab facilities—have contributed to National Recovery Month's 30 year run. These efforts are sure to continue the mission of promoting a better understanding of substance abuse, mental health, and recovery.