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San Mateo County Celebrates Recovery Month
Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities

Article Lauren Mascarenhas, Communications Coordinator
Recovery Month

September is the 28th annual National Recovery Month, and here in San Mateo County we are celebrating our residents in recovery from substance and mental health issues as well as their family members, supporters and providers who helped them on their journey.

Communities first started celebrating Recovery Month in 1989, when it was branded, “Treatment Works! Month.” Back then, the observance honored professionals in the field of substance use treatment who were helping people with addiction get their lives back. In 1998, it was renamed “National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month,” as the celebration expanded to include people who were in recovery from substance use disorders. In 2011, it became simply, “Recovery Month,” a time to commend individuals in recovery from both substance use and mental health issues.

Many people do not get the treatment they need 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2015 there were 21.7 million people aged 12 or older living in the U.S. who needed substance use treatment and 2.3 million people, or 10.8% received it.

Of the 43.4 million adults who had a mental illness, 18.6 million, or 43% received mental health services. It is also not uncommon for those with mental health issues to try to self-medicate with substances.

We understand that many are challenged by living with both substance use and mental health issues and that it is vital to ensure that our services are welcoming to all who are in need.

Prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover

In the past, both mental health and substance use conditions have been incorrectly attributed to personal failings or a lack of willpower. The truth is, they are diseases, just like high blood pressure or diabetes. And like physical health issues, they can be prevented and treated to make recovery possible. 

Messages of hope

This year’s National Recovery Month theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.” This touches on how vital the support from family and community are in the recovery process. Those in recovery and their families are encouraged to share their personal stories. These stories are precious in the recovery community, as they not only highlight the incredible determination of individuals in recovery (along with the providers and supporters who helped them along the way), but also serve as messages of hope for those in the community who are struggling with their own substance use and mental health issues. Read personal stories from local people in recovery. 

Every individual living in recovery is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.  People in recovery are walking proof that prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover.

Join us to celebrate those in recovery and the communities who support them

San Mateo County will be highlighting these stories as we enter a month filled with events, celebration and education, (BBQ, art gallery, movie & dance, etc.). Check out the events to show your support, and keep an eye on the San Mateo County Health Facebook and Twitter pages where we’ll be posting tips, facts and inspiring personal recovery stories. Help us spread the word that prevention works, treatment is effective and recovery is possible!

Looking for more on recovery? Check out this issue’s article on giving back in the recovery community and learn more about mental health and substance use services