Did you know September is National Recovery Month? This health observance is dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of mental and substance use issues and celebrating those who have overcome them.
Most of us know someone who has struggled with substance use or mental illness. One in four of us are living with mental illness, and 22 million of us have a substance use disorder, according to the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness’ Stamp Out Stigma website.
How you can help
When someone we know is dealing with mental illness or substance use, we may feel powerless to help. By supporting National Recovery Month, we can make a difference and help our friends, family, colleagues, and countless others improve their lives. Start with these steps:
1. Promote National Recovery Month. The SAHMSA website lists several great ways to promote National Recovery Month – from linking to the site from your organization’s website to downloading graphics that you can use on your website or at an event to show recovery is possible.
2. Know the facts. When we know the facts about substance use and mental illness, we can educate others and reduce stigma. Many of us don’t know the facts about substance use and mental illness, but their prevalence and toll is significant. For example, 10.8 million full-time workers in the U.S. have a substance abuse disorder, according to SAMHSA, and research has shown that mental illness and substance use disorders are a major cause of lost productivity and absenteeism.
3. Talk about it. For the second year in a row, MHN – Health Net, Inc.’s behavioral health subsidiary – is participating in Stamp Out Stigma, a campaign that promotes speaking openly about substance use disorders and recovery. You can join the cause by educating and encouraging your friends, family and colleagues to reduce the stigma around mental illness and substance use disorders. Learn more at Stamp Out Stigma’s website here.
By following the steps above, you can help improve the lives of millions of Americans who are struggling with mental illness or substance use disorders.