Artists event planned for National Recovery Month

Nebraska City News-Press

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,” she said. “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 disorders, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, personality 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 at 

DHHS's Regional Behavioral Health Authorities throughout the state are choosing to promote the month with a variety of ways, including:

Region 5 (V), which includes Otoe County, 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 Sept. 23 through 29. 

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 Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. to 

Call Chris Allende, Region V Consumer Representative, at (402) 309-0411 with any questions.

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)