Health Watch/Copper Country Mental Health/Taryn Mack/CCMH?Institute Director

Every September we celebrate National Recovery Month. In 2011, eight million adults reported having co-occurring disorders, meaning they have both a mental and a substance use disorder. These people are contributing to our businesses, connecting with their families and giving back to the community. But, if we want more people to join them on a path of recovery, we need to take action-now. Too many people are still unaware that prevention works, and that these conditions can be treated, just like we can treat other health disorders such as diabetes and hypertension. We need to work together to make recovery the expectation.

The first symptoms typically precede a mental and/or substance use disorder by two to four years, offering a window of opportunity to intervene early and often. Research shows that for every $1.00 invested in prevention and early treatment programs, $2.00 to $10.00 could be saved in health costs, criminal and juvenile justice costs, educational costs and lost productivity. Approximately 80 percent of patients with depressive disorders improve significantly with treatment and recovery support services.

We can’t get discouraged by the prevalence of these problems, because help is available. In fact, in 2011, 31.6 million adults aged 18 and older received services for mental illness. These individual have achieved healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities. They need the support of a welcoming community to help them on their path of long term recovery.

In addition, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) will significantly enhance access to the prevention, treatment and recovery support service coverage for person with, or at risk of, mental and or/substance use disorders.

Locally, we will be celebrating National Recovery Month with a presentation by Eric Hipple. Mr. Hipple is a former Detroit Lions quarterback. Since his 15 year-old son Jeff’s suicide, Eric has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses. He also received the prestigious 2008 Lifetime Achievement award given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and was awarded a presidential citation at the American Psychological Association’s 2006 Annual Convention for his six years of national community-based work combating adolescent depression and suicide prevention. His message of resilience has provided mental health awareness to professional groups, military, law enforcement, schools, communities and through the Under the Helmet campaign, thousands of high school and youth coaches across the country.

Eric’s presentation – “Getting Sacked and Bouncing Back: A Quarterback’s Story of Recovery” – will focus on how hardship, loss and grief can lead to mental health struggles. He will identify stressors or life events that can change the way that we think, feel and behave. Eric will illustrate this with examples from his own life experiences. He will also discuss ways to reduce stigma and treatment. Ultimately, he will share what we need to do to maintain mental fitness.

Getting Sacked and Bouncing Back: A Quarterback’s Story of Recovery will be presented twice on Wednesday, September 25, 2013. Eric’s first presentation will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn in Houghton. The evening presentation will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Copper Country Mental Health Services Institute, 900 West Sharon Avenue, Houghton. People can register by calling 906-482-4880. The presentations are sponsored by Copper Country Mental Health and the Rice Memorial Clinic Foundation.

While in the area Mr. Hipple will also provide his Under the Helmet program to some area schools.

Editor’s note: Taryn Mack is the Institute Director at the Copper Country Mental Health Institute.