This September, we observe National Recovery Month. National Recovery Month focuses on evidence-based treatment and resources for people who struggle with mental wellness and substance misuse. It is a time to increase public awareness around recovery, as we celebrate the recovery community and the mental health providers who support them.
Many misconceptions linger around recovery, and these falsehoods can be dangerous. Statistics show that there is hope. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which sponsors Recovery Month, focuses on hope:
“Hope is a catalyst of the recovery process.”
At the Hancock Health Connection Center, we believe in hope. We believe recovery is attainable, especially when people are paired with the proper resources and treatment protocols. That is one of the many reasons why the Connection Center exists – to provide pathways to prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services for Hancock County individuals struggling with mental health concerns or substance misuse. Read on for some important recovery information, and find out how you can identify what is right for you or a loved one.
Facts and Figures
Before we dig into the scientific findings, let’s clarify an important point: Recovery is for everyone. Substance misuse and mental wellness concerns can affect any family, regardless of income, socioeconomic status, race, age, education, or other factors. Substance misuse is a chronic brain disorder. People who struggle with substances or mental health are not weak. Their brain, however, may process substances and circumstances differently. Substance misuse has been studied extensively. There are many scientific findings that allow mental health professionals to craft unique treatment plans.
Let’s look at the prevalence of substance use disorders and how the right treatment can help:
Substance use: SAMHSA released its National Survey on Drug use and Health earlier this year. Its findings included several statistics on drug use:
- In 2021, 61.2 million people ages 12 and older used illicit drugs. That represents almost 22% of the population. Marijuana was the most commonly used drug, but 9.2 million people reported misusing opioids.
- 46.3 million people ages 12 and older met the description of having a substance use disorder. This included 29.5 million with alcohol use disorders and 24 million having a drug use disorder.
- Only 6% of people who met the definition of having a substance use disorder received treatment.
Co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illness: About 9.2 million adults fall into the category of having both a substance use disorder and mental illness. These include anxiety, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Recovery: The National Institute of Drug Abuse sees recovery as a two-step process. Remission occurs when people can overcome their substance misuse behaviors and regain their health and social function. Recovery means these changes have become part of a new lifestyle. What does research say?
- 70% of people who have had substance use problems consider themselves to be in recovery.
- 66.5% of people who have struggled with mental health issues also consider themselves to be in recovery.
Anyone who has struggled with recovery understands that it’s not always a simple process. Relapse is not unusual and should not be considered a failure. Recovery isn’t a conclusion. It’s a journey that is different for each person. Mental health professionals work with individuals to create a path that meets their unique needs.
- Medications may help people detoxify from addictive substances. They also can be used to treat certain mental health conditions.
- Behavioral therapy helps people learn to identify triggers and situations where they may relapse.
- Family therapy assists families in addressing mental health and substance misuse concerns about a loved one. This therapy allows them to understand how the support their loved one and change behaviors that can contribute to mental health and substance misuse concerns.
- Support groups provide camaraderie and mutual support.
How can the Hancock Health Connection Center support recovery?
The Hancock Health Connection Center works to connect Hancock County residents with the proper resources and tools needed to treat mental health concerns and substance misuse. Our support navigators are caring community partners who are here to listen and provide helpful local connections. RISE Recovery & Wellness works with individuals who are affected by mental health and substance misuse disorders. We also have a CRAFT family support program for friends and loved ones.
Hope for recovery is here. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental wellness of substance misuse, stop by the Hancock Health Connection Center at 120 W. McKenzie Road in Greenfield, or call us at 317-468-4231. Recovery matters. So do you.
Planning has begun for Rise Above It, an annual free event designed to continue the conversation around mental wellness in the Hancock County community. It’s open to all ages and is scheduled for November 9 at Greenfield Central High School from 5:30 pm to 8 pm. Read on to find out more.
What’s included in the Rise Above It event?
Local organizations will have displays and demonstrations that dig into topics like mental wellness, self-care, and substance misuse. While Rise Above It is held at a local school, its target audience is anyone, including students, parents and community members. Participants can attend focused workshops to learn more about specific mental health concerns and substance misuse topics. They can also indulge in some much-needed self-care, which is such an important component to mental well-being.
What do you mean when you talk about mental wellness and substance misuse?
Mental illness, defined as the presence of any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, can affect any person, regardless of age, sex, socioeconomic class, education, or address. Substance misuse, which includes the use of illegal drugs and the inappropriate use of legal substances, including tobacco and alcohol, also contributes to the current state of Indiana’s mental health. Consider these numbers:
- One in four American adults, and one in five American children, lives with mental illness.
- Indiana ranks fifth in the nation for states with the worst drug problems.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Hoosiers ages 25-34.
- Here in Hancock County, recent studies show that 65% of our youth report knowing someone who has had serious thoughts of suicide.
- Hancock Regional Hospital’s most recent Community Needs Assessment indicates that 17% of Hancock County residents smoke and 18% reported drinking excessively.
Mental health concerns and substance misuse can be insidious, affecting both the person and their loved ones and friends. Unfortunately, mental health never announces its presence, and substance misuse rarely seeks out the spotlight. That’s one of the many reasons why the Healthy365 Connection Center sponsors educational programs and events like Rise Above It.
Why is it so important to talk about mental wellness?
In a perfect world, people would feel as comfortable discussing their mental health as they feel about discussing physical health concerns. However, while most people have no problem saying they struggled last week because they had the flu, many would not want to admit that they stayed home due to bouts of depression or struggles with substance misuse. Events like Rise Above It help break the stigma by bringing mental health discussions to the forefront and letting participants know it’s OK to ask for help.
For instance, last year’s event included informational materials on vaping, domestic violence, and teen drug use. Parents visited an exhibit called “Hidden in Plain Sight,” where they learned to identify drug paraphernalia and stash compartments that can be disguised as everyday items. We also offered onsite Narcan training, which is potentially lifesaving training that anyone can learn to possibly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. There was also “In Her Shoes,” a domestic violence simulation tool designed to increase awareness of the struggles faced by domestic violence survivors. This year’s Rise Above Event will include both of these programs.
Why is self-care a part of the Rise Above It event?
When you visit this year’s Rise Above It event, you’ll be able to indulge in specific self-care activities:
- Relaxation station – free chair massages
- Beautification station – haircuts and nail painting
- Stress Relief station – coloring pages, fidget toys, deep breathing exercises and weighted blanket sampling
- Fuel station – healthy snacks and information about how food affects your mood
- Gratitude and Positive Affirmation station – write notes to spread kindess to yourself and others
- Move and Groove station – participate in Zumba and yoga with music
- Changing Footprints – free shoes for your family!
Taking care of yourself has a powerful affect on both your physical health and your mental health. Self-care may not be a cure for mental health concerns, but it may help you cope with everyday stresses that can intensify struggles with depression, anxiety, or substance misuse. Plan to treat yourself as you participate in the activities listed above, and watch our website and social media feeds for more information as we add more activities to the schedule.
Sounds great! I definitely want to attend. What should I do next?
As we stated above, the event is free and open to anyone. We do ask that you register in advance to help us plan for the evening’s attendance. You can find the registration form online here or by copying and pasting https://www.behealthy365.org/riseaboveit into your browser.
Nobody should have to struggle silently with mental wellness or substance misuse concerns. Plan to join us at the Rise Above It event on November 9 to learn new information and coping strategies for yourself and those you love. If you’re currently struggling with mental wellness or substance misuse, remember that the Healthy365 Connection Center can help you find local resources and treatment options. Call us during business hours at 317-468-4231 or stop by the center at 120 W. McKenzie Road in Greenfield. Let’s get healthy, stay healthy and thrive as a community together.
Are you sabotaging your own happiness? What you’re doing – and not doing – could be keeping you from a happy, healthy life. Mental wellness is one of our passions at the Healthy365 Connection Center, and we want you to enjoy the happiness every person needs. Let’s look at some of the risk factors that endanger your contentment and talk about how you can turn things around with simple changes.
1. Lack of a good sleep routine
What’s so great about sleep? Those hours of peaceful slumber allow your brain to get ready for the demands of the day. While you’re snoozing, your brain is working to develop new pathways and enable better thinking and memory. Sleep deficiency does more than make you tired. Over time, you could notice that you’re having trouble making decisions and solving problems. You may also experience an increased risk of suicide, depression and risky behavior.
Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep daily. Are you struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep? A good sleep routine gives you a head start to being happy:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at around the same time each day, even on weekends.
- Turn off the screens 30 minutes before you go to bed. Go old-school and read a book instead. (Remember that novel you were assigned in high school that put you to sleep every time you started reading it? Use that for nights that nothing else seems to work!)
- Resist the urge to take a daytime nap.
- Use nicotine, caffeine and alcohol sparingly at bedtime.
If you are regularly experiencing sleepless nights, see your physician. Many sleep issues can be addressed medically.
2. Unmanaged stress
We all encounter stress during our day. Our bodies are actually quite adept at reacting to stressful situations – our muscles can tense, our hearts will race and our short-term memory becomes more effective during this “fight or flight” reaction that helps us escape dangerous situations. That’s not a bad thing, especially if you’re trying to meet a deadline or running from a tiger. But too much stress can strain our mental health and interfere with our happiness. If stressful situations are causing you to withdraw or feel perpetually anxious, you may experience long-term consequences. Unmanaged stress may also be linked to substance misuse.
Nobody can completely avoid stress in their lives, but anyone can take steps to address stress appropriately. Consider working these habits into your daily routine:
- Exercise regularly. Exercise gives those “fight or flight” hormones something to do and helps them work through our bodies.
- Find a hobby. You don’t have to be Picasso to enjoy painting. Carve out time to do something you enjoy.
- Make a list. Your responsibilities can seem overwhelming, but sometimes it helps to write them down. Pick the easiest task first so you can enjoy the rush of scratching it off the list when you’re done. If you can’t finish the list, give yourself permission to work on it again tomorrow.
3. An unhealthy diet
A handful of peanut butter cups may give you an instant sugar rush during the day, but they’re not the answer to long-term happiness. Instead, consider that Mom may have been right when she told you to eat your vegetables. Healthy food choices can have positive implications on our mental health and well-being and may even make us happy. But it’s not always easy to make healthy eating decisions, especially if food has emotional implications. Remember, you don’t have to struggle for mental wellness alone. Talk to your physician about nutritional resources or check out the nutrition and weight loss programs through Hancock Health.
4. Physical inactivity
A century ago, people’s daily activities included more active minutes. Your great-grandmother spent the day working in her garden, canning the produce and sweeping the floor with a broom. Your great-grandfather stood at a factory machine all day. Even people who were lucky enough to own an automobile weren’t as dependent as we are today. Combine this with an abundance of sedentary pastimes and screen-related activities, and we’re missing out on the relationship between physical activity and overall happiness. Physical activity can help your brain release endorphins, those feel-good neurotransmitters that can boost your mental health.
According to the World Health Organization, adults need a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity each week or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity. If that sounds intimidating, consider that it averages to about 21 minutes daily on the low end. Are you looking for ways to add more activity into your life? Consider these options:
- Find something you like to do. Give yourself a chance to explore different exercise options, from outdoor walking to working on the machines at one of the state-of-the-art Hancock Wellness Centers.
- Build in exercise throughout the day. Park far away from your office entrance. Take the stairs. Do some stretching exercises while dinner is in the oven.
- Involve the family. Busy parents may feel like they don’t have time to exercise. Invest in an exercise stroller or take the kids on a family bike ride.
5. Tobacco use
Almost everyone knows that smoking isn’t good for you. But did you know it can make you unhappy as well? Despite the stereotype of enjoying a relaxing cigarette, tobacco actually increases your stress levels and anxiety. Smoking has also been linked to depression and other mental health problems, which can put a hurt on your happiness levels. If you’re ready to kick the habit, talk to a medical professional about different strategies.
Many factors also play a role in your daily happiness, including issues related to substance misuse, recreational drug use and the harmful use of alcohol. You don’t have to tackle life alone. The Healthy365 Connection Center was designed to assist Hancock County residents who are struggling with life’s challenges. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance misuse, depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, reach out to the Healthy365 Connection Center now at 317-468-4231. Our support navigators can help connect you to important resources throughout the community. Let us help you find the happiness everyone deserves.