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Celebrating Recovery Month as Suicide Prevention

by Camille Myers, SUPS Team Project Lead

Resilience. The ability to bounce back after facing pain, trauma, adversity, and even tragedy. Resilience is the ability to begin to heal from something that you never believed you could come back from and progress through pain that once debilitated you. Resilience is to feel the pain and let it motivate you to continue and grow through it.

In September, we honor Suicide Prevention Month alongside National Recovery Month. The two are observed together, and whether it’s coincidence or purposeful, it poses a beautiful bridge between two experiences and movements that walk the same journey.

Suicide Prevention Month allows us to remember those we’ve lost by suicide, lift those who have lost someone to suicide, and support those currently struggling with their mental health journey. In late June of 2020, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use according to Mental Health First Aid. However, many people can and do recover given the right resources and mental health support.

In the same vein, celebrating National Recovery Month allows us to showcase the journeys of recovery that show that resilience is each of us, even if the steps to getting there look a little different. This national observance is held every September “to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life,” according to NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. An estimated 22 million Americans are in recovery from substance use, according to the Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal. While each of these people’s stories may look different from each other, they also defy the myth that once someone experiences addiction, they are meant to struggle forever. That is simply not true - given the right resources and support.

Celebrating recovery together in and of itself is suicide prevention and substance use prevention. Taking the time to honor both the struggles and successes that we face builds our own resilience and encourages those around us to continue to fight for their own well-being.

This is why the Community Collaboration Division at Kenneth Young Center is excited to host Resilience Fest (as a spin-off of our Voice of Resilience Campaign) at Trickster Cultural Center in Schaumburg on September 11th. September 11th is the last day of Suicide Prevention week and happens to be the 20th anniversary of the tragedy at the World Trade Center in 2001.

The event will provide an opportunity for the community to come together and reflect on our resilience as individuals, a community, and a country. We will have opportunities for community members to participate in interactive, collect resources, watch live performances from local musicians and participate in a raffle whose proceeds will be donated to the Kenneth Young Center SASS hotline.

We hope to see you there!

“...and some days i can’t get out of bed and I have to remind myself

today doesn’t mean i’m not strong enough

it doesn’t mean i’m not good enough

Healing is nonlinear

And somehow

through it all

I’ve had to learn how to love deeper

think harder

appreciate more

and live the most beautiful life

that i have been given.” - excerpt from “a note about my mental illness” by Camille Myers

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