National Recovery Month (Recovery Month), sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. This observance celebrates the millions of Americans who are in recovery from mental and substance use disorders, reminding us that treatment is effective and that people can and do recover. It also serves to help reduce the stigma and misconceptions that cloud public understanding of mental and substance use disorders, potentially discouraging others from seeking help.
Now in its 30th year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.
Recovery Month works to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.
As part of the 30th anniversary, Recovery Month is introducing a new logo that signifies the true meaning and values of the Recovery Month observance. The new Recovery Month logo features an “r” symbol; representing r is for Recovery and the need to support the millions of individuals who are proudly living their lives in recovery, as well as their family members and loved ones.
Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding about the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.
Recovery Month also highlights the achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible. Recovery Month also promotes the message that recovery in all of its forms is possible and encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those in need.
Each year, Recovery Month selects a new focus and theme to spread the message and share the successes of treatment and recovery. The 2019 Recovery Month observance will focus on community members, first responders, the healthcare community, and youth and emerging leaders highlighting the various entities that support recovery within our society.
The 2019 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger,” emphasizes the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support recovery. It reminds us that mental and substance use disorders affect us all, and that we are all part of the solution. The observance will highlight inspiring stories to help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and personal growth. Learn more about this year’s and past year themes.
SAMHSA creates a Recovery Month toolkit to help individuals and organizations plan events and activities to increase awareness about mental and substance use disorders, treatment and recovery. The kit provides media outreach templates, tips for event planning and community outreach, audience-specific information and data on behavioral health conditions, and resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. These resources help local communities reach out and encourage individuals in need of services, and their friends and families, to seek treatment and recovery services and information. Materials include SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662 HELP (4357) for 24-hour, free, and confidential information and treatment referral as well as other SAMHSA resources for locating services.
Additional Recovery Month resources are available on the Recovery Month website. Resources include logos, r is for Recovery symbol, banners, posters, and customizable flyers, posters, T-shirt designs, and one-pager, television and radio public service announcements, an event calendar to post and share your Recovery Month events or locate events in your community and social media outreach through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Note some materials are available in English and Spanish.
Over the years, Recovery Month has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about mental and substance use disorders, share their stories of recovery, and encourage others who are still in need of services and support.
Recovery Month began in 1989 as Treatment Works! Month, which honored the work of substance use treatment professionals in the field. The observance evolved into National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in 1998, when it expanded to include celebrating the accomplishment of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. The observance evolved once again in 2011 to National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to include mental illness.
Currently, more than 200 federal, state, and local government entities, as well as nonprofit organizations and associations affiliated with prevention, treatment, and recovery of mental and substance use disorders, comprise the Recovery Month Planning Partners. The Planning Partners collaborate and assist SAMHSA in the development, dissemination, and promotion of materials as well as independently hosting Recovery Month events and activities in their local communities.
Review the Recovery Month: 20 Years of Excellence and Achievement Timeline – 2009 (PDF | 357 KB), which showcases the many strides the treatment and recovery field has made and details the campaign’s success and evolution of Treatment Works! to National Recovery Month.