All around us in Northwest Indiana, people are in recovery from mental illness and substance abuse disorders. These individuals contribute to our businesses, connect with their families and give back to the community. But if we want more people to join them on the path to recovery, then we need to take action — now.
Too many people are still unaware that prevention works and that these conditions can be treated, just like we can treat other health disorders such as diabetes and high blood pressure. We need to work together to make recovery the expectation, not the exception.
Mental illness and substance abuse disorders do not discriminate — they affect people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, geographic regions and socioeconomic levels. Help is available. In 2010, 31.3 million adults 18 or older received services for mental health problems and 2.6 million people 12 or older who needed treatment for a drug or alcohol use problem received treatment.
These individuals have achieved healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute to their communities in positive ways. They need the support of a welcoming community to help them on their path to long-term recovery. Fortunately, most people say they would think no less of a friend or relative if they discovered that person was in recovery from a mental and/or substance use disorder.
To further educate communities about pathways to recovery, every September people throughout the nation celebrate National Recovery Month, an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Regional Mental Health Center celebrates Recovery Month by honoring individuals and families who are in long-term recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders, and by encouraging everyone in Northwest Indiana to be aware, respectful and supportive of those who need a helping hand as they try to contribute to their communities.
I urge local businesses, community organizations, colleges, schools, administrators, and government agencies to get involved. Let people know that help is available 24 hours a day through SAMHSA’s National Helpline, (800) 662-HELP or (800) 487-4889 (TDD). Additionally, you can provide information about local treatment and recovery resources on your websites and link to additional information available at http://www.recoverymonth.gov.
Regional Mental Health Center offers a continuum of care for mental health and substance abuse issues, including a substance abuse detoxification program in East Chicago, substance abuse residential and intensive outpatient programs in East Chicago and Merrillville, as well as outpatient substance abuse counseling for adults, children, and adolescents. For more information, call (219) 769-4005.
These are small and easy steps to take, and they can make a tremendous difference in the lives of many in our community. We shouldn’t think twice about getting involved.
Bob Krumwied is CEO of the Regional Mental Health Center. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.