Originally published in: http://www.leominsterchamp.com/articles/families-and-communities-can-make-a-difference/
Serving on the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, I have had the privilege of hearing the stories of both the struggles and the successes from Massachusetts residents whose lives have been affected by addiction. Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health and form stronger relationships.
We need to make more people feel as though recovery is possible.
Mental and/or substance use disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. They need to know that help is available. These individuals can get better, both physically and emotionally, with the support of a welcoming community.
Families and communities can find hope and spread the message that recovery works by celebrating the annual National Recovery Month, an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Every other Saturday in Leominster, “Alone No More,” a support group for people who have been personally affected by the opioid epidemic and addiction in general, meets at the Unitarian Universalist Church on West Street. It is a safe place for the healing to begin, and also to have a support system to lean on for comfort. In addition to group meetings, the church’s volunteer staff is also available for one-on-one sessions. The next two scheduled gatherings are on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14.
If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, please let them know that free, confidential help is available 24 hours a day through SAMHSA’s National Helpline, (800) 662-HELP (4357) or (800) 487-4889 (TDD). Additionally, you can visit the Recovery Month website at https://recoverymonth.gov/node/1273.
Offering support to those experiencing mental and/or substance use disorders can make a huge difference. Together we can help others realize the promise of recovery and give families the right support to help their loved ones.
Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s column. If you have any questions, or need to get in touch with me and my office, email me at Natalie.Higgins@mahouse.gov or call (978) 227-5278. Hoping you have a fun and healthy fall!