Recovery Walks in Philadelphia, PA, drew more than 15,000 participants in September. It was the signature event of the Rally for Recovery series, sponsored by Faces and Voices of Recovery.
Thousands Celebrate During National Recovery Month
By Tim Tassa
During September's National Recovery Month, celebrations came in all sizes, shapes, and styles. Some types of events were rallies, rambles, jamborees, and paloozas; others were walks, runs, rides, concerts, and expos. While the events varied in creativity, they embraced a similar goal: building support for recovery from mental and substance use disorders.
For the 22nd consecutive year, Recovery Month, sponsored by SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, recognized people in recovery and lauded the work of treatment providers. In addition, SAMHSA released the results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health at a press conference of the observance.
"Recovery Month events attract millions of people each year, helping to educate the public and policymakers about the reality of recovery," said Pat Taylor, Executive Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery, a Recovery Month planning partner organization. "Events small and large bring together people in recovery, family members, friends, and allies in community spaces and build opportunities for sustained advocacy on behalf of recovery."
Recovery Month's network of 150 planning partners orchestrated a host of opportunities to promote the journey of individuals overcoming substance use and mental disorders. Among the many different event offerings were a stand-up comedy show in Houston, TX; a Peer Power Seminar in Dallas, TX; a 5K run/walk in Shawnee, KS; rallies in Philadelphia, PA, and Austin, TX; and a candlelight vigil in Appleton, WI.
"Recovery Month moves people from all walks of life out to celebrate, collaborate, and communicate the hero's journey," said Joe Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Persons Affected by Addiction, a Recovery Month planning partner organization. "While we do not get to meet the millions touched by our work, we know they are grateful and need us to continue our treatment and recovery efforts on their behalf, by any means necessary."
Recovery Month activities echoed this year's theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Recovery Benefits Everyone," which emphasized that all Americans have the opportunity to access provisions in the recent health care legislation aimed to improve physical and emotional health, while ensuring people will receive the care they need at a reasonable cost. The theme stressed that public awareness will increase access for those in need of essential substance use and mental health treatment and recovery support services.
Audiences included policymakers, health care providers, consumers, and members of the workforce, each of which joined SAMHSA in its mission to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. In addition, the Recovery Month theme was espoused by many prominent public figures who issued proclamations, including President Barack Obama.
"The promise of recovery is a common goal that drives the behavioral health service delivery system," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. "We will continue to use Recovery Month to share the success of behavioral health services with the Nation."
For more information about Recovery Month and to learn about opportunities to join in Recovery Month 2012, visit http://www.recoverymonth.gov.