How to Mark National Recovery Month with Your Teen
For many Americans, September is a hopeful time when attention turns to fall colors, football, and preparations for the holiday season. But for some teens, especially those with substance use disorders and/or mental health issues, September is a month of trepidation as they begin another stressful school year with the knowledge that the cold, bitter winter is on the horizon.
That is why it is especially important for parents of troubled adolescents to commemorate National Recovery Month
, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Setting aside some time for this event can help teenagers cope with their condition and remind them that it is possible for them to live a happy, healthy life.
National Recovery Month: History and Present
National Recovery Month traces its roots back to September of 1989 when it was founded to honor the contributions of substance abuse professionals. The occasion evolved into a month to also recognize the accomplishments of those who were overcoming their struggles with substance misuse or mental health disorders.
This year marks the 20th
anniversary of that decision to focus on people who are going through recovery. The theme for 2018 is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community
.” According to the SAMHSA website
, the theme “explores how integrated care, a strong community, a sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders.”
How to Celebrate
As part of National Recovery Month, Americans are encouraged to plan and host events
that are designed to honor those who are making strides in recovery as well as those caregivers and professionals who are aiding in those efforts. Suggestions for events include rallies, fun runs, fundraisers, parties or other social gatherings.
In addition, the National Recovery Month website has a link
where those in recovery can submit their own stories about how they are overcoming the challenges they face from dealing with mental health or substance use disorders. There are also dozens of stories of individuals going through recovery that can be read
which can hopefully inspire people who are fighting their own battles against substance use or mental health conditions.
Why It Is Important
Researchers have known for a long time that substance misuse and mental health disorders are often co-occurring conditions. For teenagers who are trying to gain control over their mental health challenges while simultaneously combatting the temptation to use alcohol or drugs (all while navigating the everyday obstacles associated with being a teenager), the idea of any sort of “normal” life may seem wildly unattainable.
This is precisely why National Recovery Month is so vital. It is an opportunity to demonstrate to these troubled adolescents that treatment does work, prevention is helpful, and recovery is possible. And 2018’s theme highlights the various components that make up effective treatment plans for adolescents suffering from substance use or mental health disorders.
So this September, parents of teenagers who are battling these types of issues should embrace the spirit of National Recovery Month by showing their kids that recovery is achievable. The website contains many other tools and resources
to support this message of recovery. Most importantly, parents can use this opportunity to reinforce the fact that they love their teenagers dearly and will stand by them no matter how difficult the recovery road may get.
If your teenager needs help recovering from alcohol or substance misuse, contact us