September is National Recovery Month

Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness of behavioral health conditions. This observance promotes the knowledge that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover from mental and substance use disorders.

The 2018 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community,” explores how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contribute to effective treatments for the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders. The observance works to highlight inspiring stories that help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and wellness.

Behavioral Health Prevalence in the United States

Millions of people in the U.S. live with a mental or substance use disorder. The prevalence of these conditions highlights the importance of focusing funding and attention on behavioral health needs.

Substance Use Disorder

From the most recent data (2016), SAMHSA reports:

  • 1 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year
  • 1 million had opioid use disorder

According to the NC Opioid Action Plan Data Dashboard, in 2017 in North Carolina:

  • 5,844 people went to the Emergency Room for an overdose
  • 1,683 people died of overdose
  • 4,176 people were rescued from overdoses using naloxone

In Partners’ 8 counties:

  • 608 people went to the Emergency Room for an overdose
  • 146 people died of overdose
  • 118 people were rescued from overdoses using naloxone

Mental Illness

According to SAMHSA, data from 2016 shows that nationally:

  • 7 million adults had a mental illness in the past year
  • 4 million adults had a serious mental illness in the past year
  • Around 44,965 Americans died of suicide—on average, more than 123 deaths per day

According to recent data in North Carolina:

  • 1,459,000 adults had a mental illness in 2017 (Mental Health America prevalence data)
  • 258,986 adults had a serious mental illness in 2017 (The Treatment Advocacy Center)
  • 1,373 people died of suicide in 2016—on average, almost 4 deaths per day (Injury-Free NC)
  • Partners served 38,096 people for a mental illness in the fiscal year ending July 2017 in its 8 counties

This year, across the country, people in recovery are celebrating their successes and sharing them with others in an effort to educate the public about treatment, how it works, for whom, and why. Because these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, these personal stories, or Voices for Recovery, provide a vehicle for people to share their recovery stories. Read or watch on Recovery Month’s YouTube other personal stories of recovery, or join the voices of recovery and share your personal story with hundreds of thousands of Recovery Month supporters online today! Visit voices for recovery to see how you can share your story.

Find Recovery Month events near you by visiting

Enrollee Navigator – Peer Support

Sometimes it is easier to accept you have problems and deal with challenges when you can talk to someone who understands exactly how you feel. Other times it helps just to know someone else cares about you and will be checking on you. Peer Support Specialists are that perfect someone.

Certified Peer Support Specialists are counselors who have lived with addiction or mental illness. Most importantly, they know what living in recovery is. They have gone through the same things you are and can help you navigate the publicly-funded health care system to get the services and supports you need.

The Peer Support Specialists also benefit from helping others. Connecting with a person living with the same types of issues and treatments, and helping that person begin recovery, improves the support specialist’s own recovery and overall wellness.

The North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist Program requires a peer to meet requirements necessary for providing support to individuals with mental health or substance use disorders. To learn more about how peer support works, or about becoming a Certified Peer Support Specialist, visit the North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist website.

In the Community 

Biggest Event of the Year: HBISG Summer Cookout

Don’t miss out on the summer fun. The Hickory Brain Injury Support Group is holding their Summer Cookout meeting on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, from 6-7:30 p.m., at Glenn Hilton Park, 2000 6th St. NW, Hickory, NC. They still need volunteers to bring baked beans, chips, chili, desserts, side dishes, pickles, slaw, and water/drinks/ice. Please let Travis know what you plan to bring to the cookout by Thursday, August 23. Also, Please bring your own special dietary needs such as sugar or gluten-free items. Contact Travis Glass at 828-781-0778 or

Peer Support Learning Coalition: Peers to Pearls

Join Certified Peer Support Specialist/trainer, Patty Schaeffer, at the September gathering of “Peers to Pearls” – a learning coalition for NC Peer Support Specialists (PSS)! The coalition meets on Saturday, September 8, from 1:30-3:30 p.m., at LifeSpan, Inc., 2020 Remount Rd., Gastonia, NC.

These free, reoccurring meetings will focus on effectively building PSS skills, including motivational strategies and techniques, problem solving, and critical thinking. Attendees will receive training to enhance their employment opportunities and navigate the responsibilities of a Peer Support Specialist. Coffee, snacks, and water will also be provided. These educational sessions are open to:

  • NC Peer Support Specialists already working in the behavioral health field
  • Individuals seeking PSS employment, who have already graduated from a certified NC Peer Support Specialist training
  • Community stakeholders with an interest in Peer Support and recovery endeavors

Please visit the coalition website to register. For additional information, contact Patty Schaeffer at 704- 466-2570 or Kyanna Golden, Lifespan, Inc., at 980-297-3313.

Lincoln Wellness Center is Hosting Community Clinics

The Lincoln Wellness Center at 311 E. McBee St., Lincolnton, NC is hosting two free physical health clinics for those in need:

High-Risk Prostate Cancer Screenings: Levine Cancer Institute is hosting prostate cancer screenings on Tuesday, September 11,2018, from 6-8 p.m. Free screenings are available for uninsured and high-risk men, including:

  • Men 40 to 70 years old with a father, brother, or son with prostate cancer
  • African-American men 40 to 70 years old
  • Men with certain high-risk jobs, including veterans, firefighters, and farmers

Registration is required for this event. Please call 980-389-0017 or email to register.

Hepatitis A and B Vaccines: The Lincoln County Health Department will be offering free Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines to adults who are uninsured, receive Medicaid, and those who have private insurance (excluding Medicare). *Please bring your insurance card with you. The clinic is on Thursday, September 13, 2018, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Connect Catawba Resource Forum

Partners is sponsoring the next quarterly Connect Catawba Resource Forum on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, from 8-10 a.m. at the Newton Recreation Center, 23 South Brady Ave., Newton, NC (enter at back of building; lower level). The September forum will focus on supports and services available for students attending schools in Catawba County. You will hear from agencies and programs that provide services and resources for students in grades k-12. Please RSVP online by Friday, September 7.

3rd Annual Burke Rally for Recovery

Join the Burke Substance Abuse Network to celebrate and spread the message that people do achieve sustained recovery from mental health concerns, alcohol, drugs, and other life challenges. The 3rd annual rally features: Speakers, live music, free food, a Recovery Wall,

Games, and more! All are welcome on Saturday, September 15, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Morganton Historic Courthouse Square, 102 East Union St., Morganton, NC.

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 4 – Issue 3
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