September is National Recovery Month, an annual observance to raise awareness for substance use and mental health treatment. This year, the 31st annual observance is about “celebrating connections” and revolves around the theme, “Recovery is for everyone, every person, every family, every community.” Alcohol and drug abuse can profoundly affect an individual’s life, but substance addiction is also a family and community disease that impacts everyone it touches.
In conjunction with National Recovery Month, FHE Health is excited to promote the importance of recovery for everyone impacted by addiction. Each day, individuals, families, and communities take another step toward lasting recovery. That success in recovery is contagious and can inspire someone else to take their first step on the path to recovery, too.
The stigma associated with substance addiction and mental illness remains. But that doesn’t mean that progress hasn’t occurred. Increasingly, more people have begun to normalize discussion of addiction and mental illness and to show support for those recovering from these conditions. It has been said that we all know someone affected by alcoholism or drug abuse. That means we are all connected to this condition in one way or another, either as the individual diagnosed with it or as a family member, friend, or member of the community. This year’s Recovery Month theme reminds everyone that they have an opportunity to either offer support or not.
Healthy forms of support can promote recovery and wellness for individuals affected by addiction or a mental health disorder. People can work together to end the stigma associated with these conditions and normalize recovery by:
- Entering a rehab facility for treatment
- Encouraging a loved one to seek help
- Staging an intervention for a loved one
- Offering to care for a friend’s pet while they’re in rehab
- Learning about how addiction works
- Educating oneself about enabling behaviors
- Giving a loved one a right to their outpatient therapy session
- Spending time with a loved one when they are feeling vulnerable to relapse
Addiction and mental health are not matters to sweep under the rug. If recovery is to be achieved, these conditions cannot be ignored.
Recovery Is for Everyone
Many addiction rehab programs today highlight the importance of family therapy and holistic support. It’s crucial to celebrate an individual’s recovery progress. They go through intense experiences, often painful and fraught with many ups and downs, in order to manage their addiction successfully. Families, too, experience tremendous emotional pain when their loved one is affected by drug or alcohol addiction. Their recovery is utterly worthy of celebration and respect too.
Communities that allocate resources for those afflicted by addiction or mental health also make positive contributions to recovery. Their support is paramount in creating a local culture that supports those in recovery and supports all those affected by these conditions.
What Are Struggles People Face When Seeking Recovery?
When a person is physically ill, they need treatment. The same is true for mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Yet, many people struggle with access to treatment or face personal obstacles that prevent them from getting the help they need. Some common obstacles to treatment include:
Addiction treatment programs often require a time commitment. Many people worry about losing their job if they enter rehab. If they lose their job, they typically lose their benefits too. People are concerned about taking a 15, 30, or 60-day leave of absence to address their mental health and addiction treatment needs and what effects it might have on their job and income.
Many people living with addiction and mental illness are parents. They might have young children. Conversely, they are caretakers for their own parents. They may find it difficult to manage these obligations while getting the help they need.
Today, there are mandates in place that stipulate that insurance providers must cover mental healthcare costs and some portion of addiction treatment. Often, however, this coverage isn’t enough. And many people living with addiction may not have insurance coverage at all. Paying for treatment may seem impossible from their vantage point.
These are just a few of the obstacles people face when contemplating treatment.
Overcoming Barriers to Addiction and Mental Health Treatment
Because recovery is important to everyone, ensuring that the people who need treatment get treatment should be a priority for communities. There are ways to remedy some of the hurdles that people face when seeking treatment. Already, insurers are offering more robust levels of coverage. Addiction treatment centers, too, are developing more flexible care plans to accommodate their clients’ needs. For instance, outpatient therapy is a great option for individuals who can’t reside in a rehab center because of family obligations.
More progress is required. Families, too, can demonstrate support for their loved ones by stepping in to assist them so they can take the time needed to enroll in a rehab program.
Communities can learn from other communities that are actively making progress in supporting those who live with addiction and mental illness. It’s not uncommon for homeless individuals to be suffering from substance addiction or a mental illness. These individuals need help, and it’s often left to communities to provide that help. Without their support and willingness to find positive solutions, how will these people achieve wellness? With support, recovery can happen.
Recovery matters to everyone. That’s why it is for everyone. Each year, one in five people will suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition. Whether that’s anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, or a substance use disorder, it will happen, and when it does, these individuals need help.
Most people suffering from an addiction, for instance, will not be able to effectively manage it without treatment and support. Addiction is a chronic disease and, without treatment, is typically progressive. That means that it will get worse rather than better unless it’s addressed. The risk of overdose is ever-present, and the healthcare costs needed to treat the physical side of addiction cost everyone—the individual, families, and communities.
People often celebrate the positive things that connect us—the love of good food, the love we have for our children, the love for friends. However, it’s also important to remember that illness, no matter its form (mental or physical) connects us too. When we address illness together, we can propel recovery to greater heights, helping more people experience the benefits of getting well.
FHE Health is committed to helping reduce the stigmas associated with substance use disorders and mental illness. We offer a wide range of treatment programs designed to promote lasting recovery and effective disease management of addiction and mental health conditions. Each day, we witness the value of working together to help people put addiction behind them or to manage their mental illness so that they can lead a normal and productive life.
Join our team in celebrating National Recovery Month. It is for everyone, and we hope everyone will do what they can to eliminate addiction and mental health stigmas.
If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction or a mental illness, reach out. We at FHE Health can connect you with effective and affordable treatment options. Contact us today to learn more.