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national recovery month 2016

Did you know that 7.9 million U.S. adults report having had a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or what’s also known as a co-occurring disorder?[i] During September, the Department of Mental Health is observing National Recovery Month.

National Recovery Month educates Americans about the fact that mental health and substance use services can provide individuals living with these illnesses, and their families, a more fulfilling and healthier life. It is possible for individuals with mental health disorders to get better; however, each person has different needs, an individualized treatment plan, and can recover at their own pace.

National Recovery MonthTreatment and recovery occur over time. This is why National Recovery Month’s theme of Join the Voices: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery aligns well with the Department’s emphasis of peer support networks by valuing individuals’ lived experiences and by providing an option to recover within the community.

“DMH embraces the path of treatment to recovery – it is a process of change in which individuals with a mental illness improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential,” said DMH Commissioner, Joan Mikula. “Individuals can successfully manage their conditions with the right kinds of support services, evidence-based clinical treatment, and perhaps as important, involvement with peers who know firsthand the experience of living with a mental illness. Recovery is about community.”

The Department of Mental Health’s (DMH) Office of Recovery and Empowerment (ORE), through supporting peer staff, promotes a vision of recovery, empowerment, and wellness and ensures that these values are infused in all aspects and levels of the Department’s work. One way ORE achieves this by is through the promotion of self-determination and self-management in relationship between individuals served and providers, and through the Office’s work to increase visibility within the peer community racially, ethnically, linguistically, gender/gender expression, and LGBTQ identified, providing both a voice and an ear reflective of the communities DMH serves.

Some DMH programs that promote recovery within the community are:

  • Peer Support Trainings – provides training to individuals with lived experience to become a Certified Peer Specialist and offer support to peers throughout their treatment and recovery. Through generous funding DMH is able to expand training and outreach efforts to include: Deaf Certified Peer Support Specialists training, Certified Older Adult Peer Specialist (COAPS) training, and Gathering and Inspiring Future Talent (GIFT) training for young adult peer mentors. Over 600 certified peer specialists have been trained through our partnership with the Transformation Center.

If you are interested in learning more about DMH’s Office of Recovery and Empowerment (ORE) or want to lend your voice and story to the peer support network, please contact Rob Walker at either Robert.Walker@massmail.state.ma.us or (617) 626-8275.

[i] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) www.samhsa.gov/disorders

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