If someone you love has been diagnosed with a mental health condition and has not yet found a treatment regimen that works, you may ask yourself, in desperation, “Is it always going to be like this?” The answer is no. Recovery is possible. It’s a simple statement, but it’s something that people living with mental illness and their families don’t always believe.
To remind all of us that recovery from mental health and substance use disorders is possible, National Recovery Month has been celebrated in the United States every September since 1989.
What is Recovery?
Because recovery is an individual experience, it won’t look the same for everyone. Nevertheless, some core truths about recovery are true for most people.
- It is a process. Healing is not always linear, and it can take time. There may be setbacks along the way.
- Change is involved, and change can be difficult and scary.
- Recovery focuses on health and making informed decisions.
- Safe, stable homes are necessary for recovery to occur.
- Meaningful engagement in life is an important part of sustained recovery.
- A supportive community makes it easier to believe that recovery is possible and to bounce back from relapses.
- Recovery isn’t the same as a cure. While some people may no longer have any visible signs of mental illness or addiction, for many, recovery means learning to manage their symptoms and reduce their episodes of relapse. They may never be totally free of their diagnosis, but they can learn ways to keep it from derailing their goals.
Why is it Important to Acknowledge Recovery?
When a person is trying to accomplish something that does not seem to be achievable, it is much more difficult to continue to push forward, even when it could be a matter of life or death. Hope can sometimes be the only thing that keeps a person moving forward when they are struggling. It can also be helpful for families to know that other people face the same challenges as their loved one and how they have coped.
What Happens Nationally During Recovery Month?
Recovery Month often includes a variety of different activities throughout September, including:
- Promotion of new, evidence-based treatment options
- Raising awareness of and reducing stigma toward the recovery community through walks and other in-person events
- Use of online resources like a designated hashtag, stickers, and virtual backgrounds, to spread the word about recovery
- Recognizing outstanding treatment professionals and programs
- Announcements of new government initiatives and funding opportunities related to both mental health and addiction recovery
What Recovery Month Events are Happening in West Virginia?
Faces and Voices of Recovery has a searchable calendar on their website that lists Recovery Month events for every state. In West Virginia, this includes an event that promotes both mental health and addiction recovery.
What Does Recovery Involve?
Recovery can look different from person to person, but some common paths to recovery include:
- Peer support – a person or group of people with lived experience shares their recovery journey with others who are also on the path to recovery; this can happen via mutual aid groups, certified peer recovery specialists, recovery housing, collegiate recovery programs, etc.
- Treatment-assisted recovery – trained professionals, such as therapists, doctors, substance use counselors, and others, utilize medications, therapy, or a combination of the two to assist a person in their recovery.
- Faith-based recovery – recovery services include a spiritual or religious component.
- Natural recovery – utilizes a person’s family and friends as support, without the use of trained professionals.
Because each person’s recovery journey is different, what works for one person may not work for another. These recovery methods also do not have to be mutually exclusive, so they can be used in combination with one another to find the right fit for each individual.
At Highland Hospital in West Virginia, we believe that recovery is possible for every person we serve. We can help you or your loved one find the unique pathway to recovery that works for you, and we offer family education and support as well.