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San Mateo County Celebrates National Recovery Month
Behavioral Health is essential to health: prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.


Throughout September, Recovery Month celebrates people who have reclaimed their lives through recovery from substance use and mental health conditions and honors the greater community that makes recovery possible.

Join the Voices for Recovery, Invest in Health, Home, Purpose & Community

This year’s national theme encourages communities to join the voices for recovery by investing in health, home, purpose, and community. It highlights the ways integrated care, a strong sense of community, sense of purpose, and leadership all play a role in recovery.

The annual observance will highlight inspiring stories that help people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and wellness, and will bring together more than 35 community organizations, local businesses, San Mateo County Health’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), and over 600 people in the recovery community for a number of events.

  • Only 2.1 million (11 percent) adults in the U.S. who needed substance use treatment in a specialty facility in 2016 received it.
  • Drug overdoses killed roughly 64,000 people in the U.S. in 2016—a 22 percent increase over the previous year—and are expected to remain the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
  • Across the U.S., deaths involving synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl, have risen to more than 20,000 from 3,000 in just three years, with fentanyl deaths up 540%.
  • Of the 44.7 million (18 percent) adults in the U.S. who experienced any mental illness, 19.2 million (43.1 percent) received mental health services in the past year.

San Mateo County has broadened services available to the community through the advent of the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System. This includes additional service capacity for youth.

“When mental and substance use disorders go unaddressed, they become more complex and more difficult to treat,” said Scott Gruendl, assistant director, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “Getting help early, before behavioral health conditions progress, is among the best and most cost-effective ways to improve overall health. By highlighting those who are in long-term recovery and the broader community who supports them, we hope to empower others to seek help.” 

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors launched Recovery Month with a proclamation on September 4th.

Other Recovery Month festivities include a BBQ picnic and resource fair in San Mateo Central Park on September 18th, a candlelight vigil, art show, and a dance and movie night. For more information and a full list of events, visit

All events are free and open to the public.

For more information about local treatment and recovery resources, visit