CULLMAN, Ala. – Each year, the month of September is set aside as National Recovery Awareness Month in the United States in order to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance abuse disorders and to encourage individuals in need of treatment and recovery services to seek help. On Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs officially proclaimed September Recovery Awareness Month in the city of Cullman.
“I am proud to proclaim September Recovery Awareness Month in Cullman in honor of those who are living their lives in recovery and in recognition of those who provide the support services that make this possible,” said Jacobs.
On hand to accept the proclamation on behalf of Restoring Women Outreach were Nancy Moore (board president) and Summer Burden (director). Restoring Women Outreach is a local facility that offers a 12-step-based, year-long program for addiction recovery. It was created with the vision and purpose of helping women whose lives have been damaged by addiction. The staff of Restoring Women Outreach seeks to provide women with the resources and skills they will need to move forward in life and to confidently reenter society.
“I am so excited about this,” said Moore. “This is my passion! This is a big day for the recovery community, and a big day for Restoring Women Outreach!”
Citizens and business owners are encouraged to “turn our town turquoise” during the month of September to help bring awareness and to help celebrate the recovery community. Turquoise ribbons will be placed throughout town, and signs honoring people in our community who have recovered will be displayed on the grounds of the Cullman County Courthouse.
“The people and organizations that provide prevention, treatment and recovery services in our community – from the elementary school D.A.R.E. programs all the way to the individuals who help people overcome years of debilitating alcohol or substance abuse – deserve recognition, as do those who have struggled with these issues and found recovery themselves,” said Jacobs.
In the proclamation, Jacobs – on behalf of the city council and citizens of Cullman – encouraged everyone to learn more about mental health and substance use disorders, and to remember these four things:
- Behavioral health is an essential component to overall health.
- Prevention works.
- Treatment is effective.
- People can and do recover!
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) demonstrates that substance misuse and mental illness continue to be major problems for Americans. The survey found that there were approximately 20.4 million people (aged 12 and older) with a past year substance use disorder. Only 4.2 million of them received any substance abuse treatment in the past year, and only 2.6 million received treatment at a specialty facility. Of those who did not receive treatment at a specialty facility: 95.7% did not feel they needed treatment, 3.0% felt they needed treatment but did not make an effort to get treatment and 1.2% felt they needed treatment and made an effort to get treatment.
Also, according to the 2019 NSDUH, the percentage of adults who had any mental illness (AMI) in the past year increased from 39.8 million in 2008 to 51.5 million in 2019. Over that same time period, the percentage who had serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year increased from 3.7% to 5.2% (13.1 million people). The most common reason adults gave for not receiving mental health services was they could not afford the cost of care, they didn’t know where to go for services, or they believed they could handle the problem without treatment. (samhsa.gov/data/report/2019-nsduh-annual-national-report)
“Let’s bring awareness to this issue and let folks know that help is available,” said Jacobs.
For more information, go to SAMHSA.gov or recoverymonth.gov. If you are struggling with alcohol dependence, substance misuse or mental health issues, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357. Locally, contact Restoring Women Outreach, Inc. (restoringwomenoutreach.org) at 256-727-6531 or WellStone Behavioral Health (wellstone.com) at 256-734-4688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.