One of the most fundamental lessons learned in recovery is to keep moving forward and never forget how far you have come. This is especially important when times become challenging–and challenges will undoubtedly occur at some point during different intervals of life. However, you might personally know how important it is to cherish the good times by recognizing the past—but not defining yourself by the past.
Sometimes society is unfair. Those who are aware that there needs to be more education and sensitivity surrounding the connection between mental and addiction disorders are fighting twice as hard to be heard. It is why National Recovery Month is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of mental and addiction disorders. Reaching a greater number of people and educating the youth will help bring more understanding and reduce societal obstacles to care and treatment. However, to truly understand the importance, one must be made aware of some of these ongoing challenges.
In the U.S., there remain many misconceptions about the connection between addiction and mental health. These stigmas and stereotypes cause a lot of duress in somebody going through recovery, often limiting their opportunities for a career, living in certain communities, and their overall acceptance in society.
These prejudices are even harder on minorities, causing cruel and unfair resentment. Minorities are less likely to use services and receive poorer quality mental health and addiction care despite having similar community rates of mental disorders. Minorities are also grossly over-represented among the nation’s vulnerable and high need groups such as the homeless and those incarcerated with mental and addiction disorders. The limited access to seeking treatment for minority communities is disproportionally high compared to white communities. Effective treatment begins with equal opportunity, and without equality, most tend to ignore and even resent those who suffer more, which helps create more unfounded stereotypes and prejudices.
Without understanding the underlying problems, the majority consensus over what it means to be someone with an addiction or mental disorder has been established in ignorance. This leaves little motivation to fund addiction research. For example, while the opioid crisis continues to fluctuate yearly, the number of deaths, as a result, remains consistently too high. During a year with so much uncertainty, many live in isolation, and there is an increase in alcohol purchases and the number of people seeking drugs on the street. As a result, the numbers of new addiction cases and overdoses are likely to soar in 2020. Many might believe this is circumstantial to the year. However, they fail to understand the underlying cause as to why so many are afflicted.
The United States further supports these kinds of beliefs because it has been shameful how this country has facilitated research and awareness. This is unacceptable.
Your voice will carry a long distance. While it is not all discouraging, ignorance does exist; however, more people today are becoming aware and sensitive to the struggles of those suffering from addiction and mental disorders. The millennial generation and Generation Z have been more outspoken and open to expressing their feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as their dependencies and encouraging treatment. While it is good to see generations coming up now or growing into young adults speak so openly, it is alarming to see how many people suffer from a mental and addiction disorder. Raising awareness not only helps people to open up and become more sensitive to those suffering, but it could help motivate changes to help fund research and treatment for families who cannot yet get help.
Education Is Key
Education from a sensible, empathetic, and understanding perspective will help those affected by addiction to not feel worthless or like outsiders. You can help correct harmful misconceptions by taking a proactive approach by just educating yourself and your family and friends. When educating yourself about mental health and addiction and the alternative treatments that exist but are not funded or recognized, your words could help save someone from an overdose or help an elder find the right care facility or treatment.
If you are worried about putting misinformation out there, many treatment facilities, including True Recovery, do not limit themselves to speaking exclusively to potential patients. Most facilities will not only offer up but enjoy spreading the word to those curious and wanting to learn. Pursuing the truth through quality information will allow you to meet great people and make a dedicated and personal connection to wanting to speak up alongside those who need help.
National Recovery Month does not have to solely act as an effort to help correct the stigmas of addiction and mental disorders. National Recovery Month is also a cause for celebration–to champion those who have endured the struggles and maintained treatment and achieved a quality of living they never thought possible. It is to recognize these everyday struggles by allowing people to share their stories of addiction. It should be an effort to bring the communities together so that all are viewed as equals. The more we share, the more we care.
National Recovery Month should always be about those who are affected and may not be able to speak up for themselves. It is about awareness and acceptance. And while you do not need to be combative with those who don’t see things your way, don’t ever be afraid to question and challenge their views and practices. Pursue the cause that best suits the needs of those who suffer from addiction or a mental disorder. Do it for them, for yourself, and the future.
If you want to get started on joining the cause to spread the word about mental health and addiction, but don’t know where to start, True Recovery offers 24/7 help and will answer any questions you have. True Recovery is welcoming of anybody who wants to educate themselves about recovery and treatment practices. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.