Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sponsors National Recovery Month. This observance celebrates the millions of Americans who are in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders, reminding us that treatment is effective and recovery is possible. It also serves to help reduce the stigma and misconceptions that cloud public understanding of mental health and substance use disorders, potentially discouraging others from seeking help.
Our nation’s communities are seeing the effects of mental health and substance use disorders every day. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), among the 19.7 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 8.5 million adults had a co-occurring mental illness in 2017. At the same time, countless American communities have suffered because of the opioid crisis. NSDUH also found that approximately 11.4 million, or 4.2 percent of the population aged 12 or older in the U.S., misused opioids in 2017.
Substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services can help people find pathways to sustained recovery, permitting them to lead active and meaningful lives while contributing to their communities. By engaging individuals with substance use disorders, helping them access treatment, recovery support, and other services they need — and by welcoming them back to the community as they embark upon the pathway to recovery — we can build healthier, more resilient communities and reduce the public health and public safety costs of unchecked addiction.
On a local level, Region Ten is responding to the opioid crisis by launching Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) services though our Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) program for Louisa and Greene counties, where overdose rates are higher. Our new mobile OBOT program will provide this effective form of treatment for residents in these rural counties, making it easier for them to access services by reducing transportation barriers. This new program has just begun, and is a great addition to National Recovery Month activities. To access opioid treatment services in Louisa and Greene counties, call (434) 962-1949.
Another team within Region Ten that is working to promote recovery is Community-Based Recovery Support Services (CBRSS). This team consists of peer mentors who do outreach to individuals and their families whose lives have been affected by a substance use and/or a co-occurring mental health disorder and who live in Charlottesville public housing or Friendship Court. The goal of the CBRSS team is to facilitate access and connection to services while nurturing self-direction, empowerment, choice and accessibility by placing recovery support directly in communities. CBRSS sponsors a number of events throughout the year, and this year, during Recovery Month, it will present its fourth annual CRANU (Community, Recovery for all Neighborhoods United) event at Tonsler Park, with the theme of “Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.”
At the end of the month, Region Ten is partnering with the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition and The Haven to host a film screening and panel discussion of the movie “HEROIN(E).” The screening will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 26 at The Haven and will be followed by REVIVE! overdose reversal training for those interested. For more information, visit helphappenshere.org/recoverymonth or the SAMHSA website at samhsa.gov.