September is National Recovery Month

News Release
For Immediate Release: 9/8/2022

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

Lincoln – September is National Recovery Month, and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) is spreading the message now and throughout the year that behavioral health is essential to health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover from mental illnesses and substance use disorders (SUD).

The 2022 National Recovery Month theme, “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community" reminds people in recovery and those who support them, that recovery belongs to all of us. We are all called to welcome everyone to recovery by lowering barriers to recovery support, creating welcoming spaces and programs, and broadening our understanding of what recovery means for people with different experiences.

“People can and do recover from the challenges of mental health conditions," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Recovery Month helps to educate others about substance use, mental health, and co-occurring disorders, the effectiveness of treatment and recovery services, and the message that recovery is possible. We encourage communities to normalize the conversation about recovery. We also celebrate those on their recovery journeys and applaud the contributions of treatment and service providers, recovery support groups, and individuals with lived experience who provide a message of hope that recovery is possible."

A SUD is a complex condition that affects a person's brain and behavior, leading to a person's inability to control their use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications despite harmful consequences. Researchers have found that about half of individuals who experience a SUD during their lives will also experience a co-occurring mental disorder and vice versa. Co-occurring disorders can include anxiety disordersdepressionattention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)bipolar disorderpersonality disorders, and schizophrenia, among others. Additional information can be found in the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)'s Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders Research Report. NIDA's report suggests that as many as one in four people with substance use disorder have co-occurring mental disorders.

Both SUDs and other mental disorders can run in families, suggesting that certain genes may be a risk factor. Environmental factors, such as stress or trauma, can cause genetic changes that are passed down through generations. Mental disorders can contribute to substance use and SUDs. Studies found that people with a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may use drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication.

As with any chronic illness, recovery often occurs via intersecting pathways that can include evidence-based treatment, medications, medication-assisted treatment, faith-based approaches, recovery support services, and family support, noted Dawson. Each person's recovery journey is unique.  

DHHS's facilities and Regional Behavioral Health Authorities throughout the state are choosing to promote the month in a variety of ways, including:

  • Residents at the Lincoln Regional Center will have the opportunity to create and decorate a luminary that honors the person in recovery. The luminaries will be placed on the front entrance/walkway of each treatment unit with a purple light, which represents the Recovery Month celebration. The activity began August 30 and will be completed by Sept.13. The luminaries will be placed on Sept.15 and will remain on display until Sept.17. Efforts are also underway for the 2nd year in a row 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, to increase public awareness of the movement. 
  • Region 3 Behavioral Health Services is hosting its annual Lights of Hope event, which honors those lost to overdose as well as those in recovery. A limited amount of personalizable luminaries will be provided. The event will take place on Sept. 18 at the Sertoma Shelter at Harmon Park in Kearney.​
  • The Division of Behavioral Health will hold an online version of Lights of Hope, an overdose awareness event, during September. Learn more here:​​ryMonth
  • In Region 5, the Wellbeing Initiative will hold an event that will include speakers, an art viewing of submissions to the Artists Recover contest and light refreshments. It will be held on Sept. 23, at the Wellbeing Initiative offices, 5530 O Street, Suite 2. For additional information, reach out to Chris Allende at (402) 309-0411 or Submissions to the Artists Recover contest can be submitted by Sept. 16. A link to vote will be sent out via email blast and on social media Sept. 19-22 and the winner will be announced at the Sept. 23 event.
  • Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare is asking those who are receiving services to outline what they value in support persons and what they need from those support people to thrive. At the end of September, all replies will be available as an online book. If you have questions, please contact Jen Hazuka, regional consumer specialist, at (402) 591-5000 or

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.
  • 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: Dial 988 from your landline or cell phone.
  • 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)
  • Nebraska Regional Poison Center, 1-800-222-1222

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