September is National Recovery Month. Once called National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, the celebration has trimmed its title while expanding its scope. The month of September is devoted to campaigns which share the message that, when it comes to mental health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people can recover. The month-long awareness campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The three-fold message is part of efforts which go on throughout the calendar year aimed at better informing Americans about mental health in general. Educating citizens about the reality of mental health is closely followed by explaining how prevention programs can positively contribute to individual and community health. Prevention programs include education programs which inform citizens about what mental health encompasses, how to stay healthy and where to turn when mental health is compromised. After alerting citizens to the reality of mental health issues, it is important that the message ring loud and clear that treatments are available and they are effective. Many Americans haven’t given much thought as to how mental or behavioral health is linked to general health. When mental health issues go untreated, physical health issues can result or worsen. The good news is that effectively treating mental health can also positively impact physical well-being. September is a great opportunity to share success stories about how individuals recover. Americans love to celebrate when celebrities overcome cancer, successfully live with HIV and the like. What many don’t realize is how many quiet heroes are living right next door. September is a chance to herald out some of those stories about how addiction treatment and other mental health programs help friends and neighbors regain healthy and satisfying lives every day. National Recovery Month is 23 years strong. Keep your eyes and ears open for community events in your area such as rallies, television and radio ads, walks and other sponsored sports events which highlight the important work of prevention, treatment and recovery happening in your town.
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