September marks the 31st annual National Recovery Month.

An estimate 8.9 million Americans are living with a co-occurring disorder- a substance use disorder that occurs simultaneously with a mental health disorder. . . .

  1. The development of substance use and/or mental health disorders are a complex mixture of nature and nurture.
  2. We know that both substance use and mental health disorders are correlated with childhood trauma (adverse childhood experiences or ACES) and toxic stress in adulthood.
  3. We also know that the relationship between adverse experiences and negative health outcomes is “dose dependent”—that is, the more stress or trauma people experience in childhood, the more likely they are to have difficulties with substance abuse, mental illness, and a host of medical issues as adult.
  4. Although childhood trauma is particularly impactful, we know that unrelenting stress or multiple stressors in adulthood also have an impact.

The last year and a half brought an unprecedented level of stress for most people. We have feared for our own health and that of people we love, and many of us have lost people we care about to COVID.

  1. We may have struggled to manage day-care or attempted to help school-aged children learn remotely while trying to manage our jobs.
  2. We may have cancelled or postponed events which were important to us or were unable to visit with family in other parts of the country.
  3. We may have lost our jobs or struggled to maintain our housing.
  4. During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 American adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, up from 1 in 10 in the first half of 2019. Twelve percent have reported increased substance use.
  5. Nationally, overdose deaths also increased sharply in 2020; in Oregon, there was a 30.3% increase.

Recently, as our community has been hit hard with the highly contagious and more deadly Delta variant of COVID 19, many of us who were starting to feel a bit more hopeful about a return to normalcy are feeling stressed, uncertain and weary. Even if we may not meet criteria for a mental health disorder, we may be struggling with motivation or not sleeping well. What can we do? Click on the following link for more information.

Mental Health: Raising Awareness, Reducing Stigma | Opinion |

National Recovery Month (