Everman: 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 that family members have the tools to start conversations about prevention, treatment and recovery.

Too many people are still unaware that prevention works and that mental and/or substance use disorders can be treated, just like other health problems.

Having been in long-term recovery for 21 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 that help is available.

These individuals can get better, both 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).

Celebrate Recovery at Calvary Christian Church is celebrating Recovery Month by hosting a Remembrance Walk and a 5K 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 ASAP, Clark Regional Medical Center, 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 our 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 that 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 metal 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.

Dickie Everman is the Celebrate Recovery minister at Calvary Christian Church in Winchester.