September is National Recovery Month

News Release
For Immediate Release: 9/2/2021

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' Division of Behavioral Health 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 2021 National Recovery Month theme, “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community," reminds people in recovery and those who support them that no one is alone in the journey through recovery. Recovery Month will continue to educate others about substance use, mental health, and co-occurring disorders, the effectiveness of treatment and recovery services, and that recovery is possible.

“DHHS's Division of Behavioral Health promotes the contributions of prevention, treatment and recovery services and supports for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, applauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Mental health and substance use disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. Addressing and overcoming mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders is essential to reaching your full potential and achieving a healthy life."

An SUD is a mental disorder 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. 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.

During Recovery Month, the Division of Behavioral Health will hold weekly Facebook Live sessions, with the first devoted to co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, which will be held at noon today, at DHHS's Regional Behavioral Health Authorities throughout the state are choosing to promote the month with a variety of ways, including:

  • In Region 1, the Nebraska Strong Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) will be distributing 1,440 purple pinwheels throughout the entire Panhandle, as the color purple signifies recovery.  They will be distributing the pinwheels around schools, Region 1 providers and Recovery Centers (AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery). 
  • 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.  Local news media will be invited to take a picture of staff, CCP and the pinwheels at the office to help with promoting Recovery Month. 
  • Region 2 recovery month efforts will utilize the resource of Dr. Kate Speck's “Language Matters" webinar as a stigma-busting inclusion tool.
  • August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. Region 3, along with its community partners, will be hosting Lights of Hope, an overdose awareness event, on Sept. 12th at 6:30 pm at the Sonortorium at Harmon Park in Kearney. The event will raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. The Division of Behavioral Health will hold an online version of Lights of Hope during the month of September.
  • 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. Discounted early registration - $30 for the 5K, $40 for the 10K and $12 for the kids' run -  ends Sept.10, although day-of registration will be available. The Rally for Recovery will take place that same day at Skyview Park, beginning at 1 pm.
  • 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. People will have the chance to vote on their favorite piece, and a link to vote will be sent out via email blast and on social media the week of September 23rd through September 29th. The winner will receive a spotlight on Region V's social media, website, in its November newsletter, and a $100 gift card. Submit your work by September 21st at 5:00 pm 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 activity will be yoga, from 6 to 7:30 pm. To register or if you have questions, please contact Jen Hazuka, 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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