A message of hope: Celebrating recovery month in the Magnolia state

Published 5:45 am Tuesday, September 12, 2023

By Wendy Bailey, executive director
Mississippi Department of Mental Health

As September advances, we find ourselves in the midst of a special occasion – Recovery Month. This is a time when Mississippi recognizes those who are contending with the challenges of addiction and mental health crises. In the heart of this celebration lies a powerful force – hope.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) paints a vivid picture of recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” It’s a definition that captures the very essence of hope – the spark that ignites the recovery journey.

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In Mississippi, recovery takes on a profound meaning. It symbolizes our collective strength, our unyielding resolve, and our unwavering support for one another. Recovery isn’t just about breaking free from the grip of addiction or emerging from the depths of a mental health crisis; it’s about continually rediscovering purpose, reigniting dreams and rebuilding lives.

In my time with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, I’ve had the privilege of bearing witness to countless tales of recovery and resilience. I’ve seen people who were once ensnared in the clutches of addiction rise as beacons of hope for others. I’ve witnessed those who felt lost in despair rally the courage to carve their path toward a brighter future. It’s a testament to the incredible power of the human spirit.

Christopher Reeve, a true embodiment of hope in adversity, once said, “Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” These words resonate deeply with the people I’ve had the honor of meeting. They remind us that hope is not mere wishful thinking; it’s a dynamic force that empowers us to seize control of our lives and shape our destinies.

During this Recovery Month, let us join hands as a community to celebrate the power offered through hope. Let us stand beside our friends, family, and neighbors who are navigating their own paths of recovery. Let us shatter the stigma that clings to addiction and mental health, fostering an environment where people can seek help without judgment or shame.

Recovery Month is a beacon for all those who are still striving for a better tomorrow. Recovery is a journey that continues for life and this month is a reminder we are on the road together. It tells them they are not alone and that a brighter future is within reach for every Mississippian.

In closing, as we continue to commemorate Recovery Month in Mississippi, let us embrace hope as our guiding light and support those in recovery whenever possible year-round. Let us remember that hope is the initial step on the journey of recovery, and with it, we can accomplish the extraordinary. Together, we can build a Mississippi that is healthier, happier and filled with hope for all.

DMH is supports the lives of Mississippians with mental illness, substance use disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities. For information about services and supports near you, call the DMH Helpline at 1-877-210-8513, and find more information about mental health services online at www.mentalhealthms.com.