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With Persisting Heroin Epidemic, Providers Offer a Way Out through Recovery Support from First Day to Long Term

September is National Recovery  Month; Wellness Week is Sept. 15-21st

Like most of the nation, New Jersey is struggling with an ongoing heroin epidemic. As children, adults, families and communities struggle to cope when the epidemic hits home, substance use treatment and mental healthcare providers offer a way out. There are many pathways to recovery, but a common one is accessing some form of treatment, service or support to help navigate through a substance use or mental health disorder. Many times, treatment is the first step. However, often treatment or support services are needed throughout the long term to maintain recovery.

September marks both: National Recovery Month and Wellness Week, which is September 15-21st. Recovery Month is about celebrating the recovery of individuals who are leading healthy lives and also the providers who often times help them along their way. Wellness Week was launched in an effort to inspire organizations and individuals to live well and to embrace the eight dimensions of wellness.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) promotes the eight dimensions of wellness which do not focus on the absence of disease, illness or stress, but the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, and happiness.

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA) is comprised of 180 non-profit providers of mental health and substance use treatment and services. Debra Wentz, Ph.D., CEO of NJAMHAA said “Our providers offer every service from outpatient counseling to inpatient residential programs and to every age range which is important because many people can experience more than one behavioral health disorder. There is a large incidence of co-occurrence of mental health and substance use, but also developmental disabilities, serious emotional disorders and other traumas affect one individual, requiring highly trained providers to treat the person holistically”

NAJMHAA member organizations’ services address most if not all of the eight dimensions of wellness. Dr. Wentz added “It is the goal of all 180 of our members to help the 500,000 children and adults they serve to gain and maintain recovery and enjoy as happy, healthy and productive a life as possible.”

SAMHSA has created a number of wellness tools for organizations and individuals to use. They can be found here: http://www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/10by10/wellness_tools.aspx

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