Families, communities can make difference

Oftentimes, individuals who experience a mental and/or substance use disorder feel isolated and alone. Yet, every year, millions of Americans experience these conditions.

It is important that we offer support to individuals facing mental and/or substance use disorders. In fact, we need to create environments and relationships that promote acceptance.

Support from families is essential to recovery, so it’s important family members have the tools to start conversations about prevention, treatment and recovery. Too many people are still unaware prevention works and mental and/or substance use disorders can be treated, just like other health problems.

Having been in long-term recovery for 22 years and worked in the recovery field for 11 years, I have witnessed the positive reality of recovery.

Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health, as well as form stronger relationships with their neighbors, family members and peers. We need to make more people feel like recovery is possible.

Mental and/or substance use disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions and socioeconomic levels. We have to remember they are people just like us — someone’s daughter or son, mother or father, sister or brother.

They need to know help is available.

These individuals can get better, physically and emotionally, with the support of a welcoming community. Winchester-Clark County is a welcoming community.

Families and communities can find hope and spread the message that recovery works by celebrating the annual National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in September, an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

On Sept. 14 and 15, Achieving Recovery Together is celebrating Recovery Month by hosting a Remembrance Walk and a 5K/10K Run to honor individuals and families who are in long-term recovery or have lost a loved one to this disease.

We are joined with BCTC, Beall Recovery Centers, Celebrate Recovery, Calvary Christian Church, Grace Baptist Church, Central Kentucky Recovery and many more local organizations supporting recovery.

We want to strengthen our families and our community, encourage public awareness and help people begin their recovery journeys.

Resource tables will be available so you can find the help you need or to talk to someone who can help you or your family member. Your attendance will demonstrate the support of the recovery community, including those who provide prevention, treatment and recovery support services.

I urge all community members to join the celebration and help stem the incidence of mental and/or substance use disorders. Let people know free, confidential help is available 24 hours a day through SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1.800.662.HELP (4357) or 1.800.487.4889 (TDD).

Offering support to those experiencing mental and/or substance use disorders can make a huge difference.

Together we can help others realize the promise of recovery and give families the right support to help their loved ones.


Juanita Everman and Amber Fields-Hull are co-directors of Achieving Recovery Together.