LINCOLN — On the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month in September, it’s more important than ever to spread the message that treatment is effective and that people can and do recover every day.

This observance celebrates the millions of Americans who are in recovery from mental and substance use disorders, reminding everyone that treatment is effective and that people can and do recover. It also serves to help reduce the stigma and misconceptions that cloud public understanding of mental and substance use disorders, potentially discouraging others from seeking help.

“As with all chronic illnesses, recovery means a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness and strive to reach their full potential,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “This month we promote recovery, celebrate health improvements by those in recovery, recognize the strong support of communities and note the dedication of service providers and community members across Nebraska. Let’s be intentional about welcoming conversation and creating supportive communities.”

Many people who need treatment are not seeking the help they need to begin their path to recovery as shown by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health data statistics:

  • In 2017, an estimated 13.5 million adults aged 18 or older had a perceived unmet need for mental health care at any time in the past year including 6.5 million adults who did not receive any mental health services in the past year.
  • About half of the adults with a co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder in the past year did not receive either type of service. An estimated 8.3 percent of adults with these co-occurring disorders received both mental health care and specialty substance use treatment, 38.2 percent received only mental health care, and 4.4 percent received only specialty substance use treatment.
  • Suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death nationwide according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. American Indian/ Alaska Natives have the highest rates of suicide of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S. The number of American Indians or Alaska Natives who attempted suicide ranged from 4,000 to 12,000 from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, 4,000 American Indians and/or Alaska Natives attempted suicide; this number jumped to 12,000 in 2017.

In Nebraska in 2018, the Division of Behavioral Health served 32,579 Nebraskans. (To be eligible for funding from the Division of Behavioral Health, an individual and/or family may not be on Medicaid or Medicare, nor have private insurance.) The division also hosts the Office of Consumer Affairs Peoples Council, composed of people with lived experience who advocate for an integrated recovery-oriented system that supports adults, children and their families. Peer support is a service funded by the Divisions of Behavioral Health and Medicaid and Long-Term Care that utilizes individuals with lived experience and recovery to assist others in their health journey.

Behavioral Health Regions throughout Nebraska are also planning activities. These include:

Throughout the month, North Platte: Throughout September the Regional Consumer Specialists will present “Pathways to Recovery” group at the Frontier House Day Rehabilitation facility in North Platte. This will be an opportunity for the group to recognize and celebrate “Recovery Month 2019” with all the strides that have happened and will happen in the future.

  • Throughout the month, Region 2: Region 2 will be introducing “myStrengths” as a recovery resource for consumers. myStrengths is an electronic, robust, holistic platform empowering consumers to learn, practice, and implement a range of evidence-based psychological interventions. Region 2 includes Arthur, Chase, Dawson, Dundy, Frontier, Gosper, Grant, Hays, Hitchcock, Hooker, Keith, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Perkins, Red Willow and Thomas counties.
  • Throughout the month, Region 6: Over the summer, Region 6 sent out a request to providers to have their peers and staff submit either a statement or a piece of artwork which would describe what recovery means to them. These submissions are featured on the consumer page of the Region 6 website for the month of September. The link is: https://www.regionsix.com/programs/consumers/. Region 6 includes Cass, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties.

There are few Nebraskans untouched by mental illness or substance use disorders. Help is available. Reach out and ask for help and begin the journey of recovery. If you or a loved one need to be connected to recovery resources, call the Nebraska Family Helpline at (888) 866-8660 or the Rural Response Hotline at (800) 464-0258, or visit http://portal.networkofcare.org/Sites/Nebraska?state=nebraska

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