National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate people that substance use treatment and mental health services can help those with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders to be able to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Often individuals who experience substance abuse and/or mental health disorders feel isolated and alone and it’s important that we offer support to these individuals. While there is no one-size fits all solution for helping a family member who is drinking too much, using drugs, or dealing with a mental illness, research shows that family support can play a vital role in helping a loved one. 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.

When mental and substance use disorders go untreated they become more complex and more difficult to treat. Intervening early before conditions progress is the best and most cost effective way to improve overall health.

When a family member is experiencing mental and/or substance use disorders it affects more than just the person in need of recovery. Evidence has shown that some people have a genetic predisposition for developing mental and substance use disorders. Those individuals may be at an even greater risk based on environmental factors such as having grown up in a home affected by a family member’s mental health or history of substance use. Families should be open to the option of support groups or family therapy and counseling, which can improve treatment effectiveness by supporting the whole family.

It’s also important to remember the unique challenges that come from helping a loved one, so caregivers should take steps to prioritize their own health as well. Family members may be more likely to notice when their loved ones are experiencing changes in mood or behavior. Families can connect those in need with treatment, resources, and services so they can begin their recovery journey.

Helping a loved one deal with mental and/or substance use disorders:

  • Starting the conversation is the first step!
  • Seek support
  • Practice self-care
  • Talk to your loved one, express your concern and show compassion
  • Create a judgment free and loving environment to foster open dialogue
  • Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator or call 1-800-662-HELP
  • Burnett County Crisis line 1-888-636-6655
  • Burnett County Health and Human Services 715-349-7600

Remember mental and/or substance use disorders are treatable. People can, and do, recover!


Submitted by: Tessa Anderson, Burnett County Drug Court Coordinator

“Healthy Minute” is brought to you by healthyburnett.org


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