Looking Back at Recovery Month

National Recovery Month 2019 - 30th Anniversary

National Recovery Month in King County

Each September, we observe National Recovery Month in the U.S. by promoting access to recovery, celebrating people in services and educating communities about overcoming stigma and discrimination. The theme for 2019 was “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.”

Recovery Month teaches us that behavioral health is crucial to a person’s overall health and wellness. We learn that prevention methods do work, that treatment is effective, and that people with substance use and mental health disorders do recover. People in recovery enjoy healthier physical and emotional well-being, and they contribute in more positive ways to their communities. There are millions of people who have transformed their lives through recovery, and Recovery Month is a way to acknowledge and celebrate their journey.

In King County, various cities issued Recovery Month proclamations in September–recognizing and thanking all those in the behavioral health field who work in supporting people in recovery. When local government endorses and promotes the benefits and services available to its residents, information regarding mental and behavioral health issues can reach and help more people. This year, several cities, as well as the Metropolitan King County Council, joined in to issue proclamations around National Recovery Month.

Thank you to the cities of Auburn, Bellevue, Carnation, Covington, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Medina, North Bend, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, Tukwila and Woodinville.

County Council Recognizes September as National Recovery Month

BHRD staff and King County Council
From left to right: Councilmember Joe McDermott, Councilmember Reagan Dunn, Care Coordination and Recovery Section Manager Dan Floyd with the Department of Community and Human Services, Councilmember Claudia Balducci, Behavioral Health Recovery Specialist Kathleen Murphy, also with DCHS, Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Dave Upthegrove, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Pete von Reichbauer, Kathy Lambert, and Larry Gossett.

King County Council hosted an impactful and touching proclamation ceremony. We are thankful for our councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who shared personal stories and insights with attendees about how recovery has reached those around them as they were joined by their Council colleagues in recognizing National Recovery Month. “National Recovery Month is a time to spread the message that it is always possible to reclaim your life from addiction and mental illness,” Dunn said. “It is important that anyone who seeks recovery knows that there are services available to help them succeed.”

Councilmember Claudia Balducci spoke to the great need to share the message of recovery in our court and legal systems. Councilmember Kathy Lambert spoke to the magnificent work of our coworkers in the Behavioral Health and Recovery Division (BHRD) of DCHS—particularly our Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. Other council staff shared more personal stories about how recovery work has touched their lives—showing that this is an issue that can affect anyone.

BHRD in Action

Because of their ambitious outreach efforts, BHRD was busier than usual this past month. September was packed with successful events that helped spread the Recovery Month message. Here are some highlights:

  • Washington State Recovery Day: BHRD did a little pre-gaming by sponsoring the Washington Recovery Alliance’s (WRA) community resource table at the Seattle Mariners’ Washington State Recovery Day back on August 25th. Over 2000 people purchased tickets in support of Recovery Month! A portion of the ticket proceeds went toward WRA.
  • Speak Out for Recovery: BHRD paired up with Recovery Café, Interagency Recovery School, Washington Recovery Alliance and the King County Recovery Coalition on two “Speak Out for Recovery” events. These events shared a message of hope and honored the journeys of those in recovery through music, poetry, spoken word and stories.
  • Recovery Poster Art and Poetry Contest: Artists and poets came together to share their talents and spread the message about recovery. The contest winners were announced at the “Speak Out for Recovery” events with the winning contest poster being distributed out in the community.
  • Traveling Resource Tables: Our staff in BHRD did some community outreach at the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market and the Pike Place Farmer’s market at Seattle City Hall. They provided recovery resources, wellness tips and information on our programs to their various visitors.
  • King County METRO Ads: Aside from the community-focused events, we featured our message about recovery through a bilingual (English and Spanish) transit ad campaign. See if you can find the Recovery Month info ads on the bus and light rail system.

Thank You to Our Community

We are thankful for our partners and the King County residents who held space for our outreach work this month, and we honor the journey of those in recovery. Countless people are grateful that by sharing your insights and stories you contribute to reducing the stigma around addiction and mental health that often discourages people from seeking help.