JACKSON, MISS–The Department of Mental Health has joined thousands of others across the country in recognition of National Recovery Month, acknowledged each September as a reminder that people can and do recover from mental illness.
The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) has promoted the concept of recovery through its programs and services statewide. As DMH has transitioned to a person-centered and recovery-oriented system of care over the past several years, it has focused on the concept of recovery – the fact that people with mental illness can recover to lead healthy, productive and happy lives just as people with physical illnesses can.
Mental illness is very common, but that does not mean recovery is impossible, according to officials with DMH.
“Mental illnesses affect an estimated one in five people throughout this country, said DMH Executive Director Diana Mikula. “Despite its prevalence, it is still often not talked about as openly as many other physical health issues. We want everyone to realize that mental illnesses are treatable. Even more importantly, there are many people and organizations who are willing to provide the support and services needed to overcome those illnesses.
For the third year in a row, DMH is hosting a conference focused on trauma-informed care during National Recovery Month. Scheduled for Sept. 20-22 at the Jackson Convention Complex, “Weathering the Storm” brings together survivors, family members, and mental health service providers with a goal of building additional skills and knowledge in order to respond to the various aspects of child, adolescent, and adult trauma.
With mental health being so prevalent and yet taboo to discuss, many are not sure where to turn for help.
“This conference provides an exceptional learning experience on the best and effective services and supports for those who have experienced trauma and the individuals who provide care for these survivors,” said Jackie Chatmon, DMH Division of Children and Youth.
“In addition to the 6 keynote speakers, there are 35 breakout sessions on a variety of topics related to trauma.”
Keynote presentations will be on the subjects such as ethical considerations, intergenerational trauma, building resiliency, and attachment and addiction.
One way to recover is to help others.
“Talking about these illnesses does not simply help educate and inform people unfamiliar with them,” Mikula said. “For many people, an open discussion may be the first step on the road to recovery. It is important for people to know that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people do recover.”
For peer supporters, studies have shown that helping others helps improve one’s own chances at long-term recovery. Sharing personal experiences also brings additional hope to other peers in recovery. Mississippi’s peer supporters have been sharing their stories of recovery in printed and in video testimonials. They can be viewed on the DMH web at www.dmh.ms.gov/think-recovery/.