National Recovery Month - Help, Hope, and Support Are Available

News Release
For Immediate Release: 9/10/2021

Julie Naughton, Office of Communications,
402-471-1695 (office); 402-405-7202 (cell);  

Lincoln – Mental health and substance use disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. 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 Recovery Month in September.

“Oftentimes, individuals who experience mental health or a substance use disorder feel isolated and alone," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Yet, every year, millions of Americans experience these conditions. It's important that we offer support to individuals facing mental health and substance use disorders like we do for individuals with physical health illnesses. We need to create environments and relationships that normalize the healthcare conversation.  There is help and there is hope, that mental health and substance use disorders can be treated and allow individuals to live their best lives."

Trying to support someone in recovery? A few tips:

  • Find a private setting with limited distractions, where you might of other kinds of healthcare conversations, such as at home or on a walk.
  • Express concerns and be direct. Ask how they are feeling and describe the reasons for your concern.
  • Acknowledge their feelings and listen. Listen openly, actively, and without judgement.
  • Provide reassurance that mental and substance use disorders are treatable. Help them locate and connect to treatment services.
  • Be patient. Recognize that helping your loved one doesn't happen overnight. Continue reaching out with offers to listen and help. Sometimes a person in recovery will ask you directly for help, but often they may be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. But just hearing you tell them “I'm here for you and here to help," is the best support someone can get. Make a clear, simple statement that you want to help and that you support them in this process.
  • Create a substance-free environment. Loved ones can protect those in recovery from substance use disorder by removing any drug paraphernalia and alcohol while encouraging them to stay away from places that lead to relapse.

The Division of Behavioral Health's Office of Consumer Affairs holds its Lights of Hope event each year. This year's event will be online. If you or someone you know are interested in lighting a virtual candle on behalf of your own recovery, a loved ones, or in memory of a loved one who has passed as a result of a behavioral health condition, please use the following link to personalize and submit your entry: The submission deadline is Sept.26. Messages will be posted on the DHHS Facebook page the week of Sept.27. Please do not include any personal identifying information in your message beyond your first name. We are unable to include any messages that include inappropriate or offensive language.

During Recovery Month, the Division of Behavioral Health will hold weekly Facebook Live sessions, with the second, devoted to mental health recovery and resources, will be held Friday, Sept.10, at 1 pm.

The Lincoln Regional Center Peer Advisory Council is collaborating with Office of Consumer Affairs to sponsor an on-campus activity for persons receiving services at the Lincoln Regional Center. The activity recognizes persons past and present who have embraced recovery from substance abuse and mental health challenges. Beginning Sept. 6 and concluding Sept. 26, residents will create and decorate a luminaries that honor the person in recovery by first name and last initial. The luminaries will be placed on the front entrance/walkway of each treatment unit with a purple light, which represents the Recovery Month celebration. Efforts are also underway to illuminate a tall structure on the campus of the Lincoln Regional Center in purple light during this time to honor those in recovery past, present and future, in order to increase public awareness of the movement.  

Other upcoming events include:

  • A Celebrate Recovery event will take place at the Region 1 office on September 22nd at 11 am to show Nebraska Strong and Region 1's support of Recovery.  
  • Region 2 recovery month efforts will utilize the resource of Dr. Kate Speck's “Language Matters" webinar as a stigma-busting inclusion tool.
  • Region 3, along with its community partners, will be hosting Lights of Hope, an overdose awareness event, on Sept. 12th at 6:30pm at the Sonortorium at Harmon Park in Kearney.
  • Region 4 is promoting Liberty Centre Services' 5 & 10K run/walk and kids' fun run on Saturday, Sept. 25 in Norfolk, beginning at 8 am. To register, visit For more information, contact or 402-370-3503.
  • Region 5 (V) is holding Artists Recover, and is inviting Nebraskans to submit visual art, written word short stories and poetry, and spoken word pieces that represent recovery. Submit your work by September 21st at 5:00pm to Call Chris Allende, Region V Consumer Representative, at (402) 309-0411 with any questions.
  • Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare is celebrating Recovery Month with a new event every Wednesday night via Zoom. The virtual Recovery Rocks event series will feature activities led by persons with lived experience. This week, the activities will be art journaling and guided meditation from 6 to 7:30.  To register or if you have questions, please contact Jen Hazuka, Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare, regional consumer specialist, at 402-591-5000.

Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to:

  • Your faith-based leader, your healthcare professional, or student health center on campus.
  • Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660
  • Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español) or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 para Español
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)


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