Guest Column: National Recovery Month with Dana McCrary

To commemorate September as Recovery Month, I have asked Dana McCrary, director of the Office of Recovery Transformation to provide perspective in this month's column.

We are in our 32nd year of celebrating National Recovery Month. Each September, we promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, people in recovery, and the growth and expansion of recovery-oriented systems of care in communities and across our nation. We host events to bring community awareness, address stigma and lift the voices of lived experience. We acknowledge the many peers, service providers, and allies who contribute to helping individuals heal and create pathways on their journey to recovery. Most of all, we bear witness to the world that recovery is possible, and it happens every day.

We Will Forge A Pathway Forward

This is not the column I originally planned for this month.

Like many Georgians, I expected that the worst of the COVID pandemic would be behind us by now and that we would be celebrating back-to-school, enjoying return to sports, and anticipating cooler days ahead. Instead, we find ourselves enduring—trying to hold on as this global disease continues to wreak havoc on our healthcare system; trying to accept what we cannot change as the pandemic continues to hamper our travel plans and ability to gather without fear, and trying to cope as COVID continues to take the lives of people we love and admire in our communities. It’s maddening.

Guest Column: Minority Mental Health with Monica Johnson

July is National Minority Mental Health Month. Per the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH), this designation was created to raise awareness of the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States.

Mental Health Care and Our Youth

Like so many aspects of our lives right now, end of school year “traditions” have been adjusted, disrupted, and compromised.

While I have personally experienced the frustration and disappointment of these limitations, I have also been impressed to witness the creative solutions that led to unexpected joy: intimate graduations, drive-in slide shows in school parking lots to celebrate the school year, prom dresses with matching masks. The resilience of students, teachers, and administrators is boundless.

Welcome to Spring!

March was replete with lookbacks and milestone markers acknowledging the one-year anniversary of the events when COVID became “real” for each of us. While we might recognize a different day or a specific moment as the beginning of this new reality, together, we have shared a collective historical experience that was also deeply personal.

Exhausted? Good News Can Recharge

On any given day, it’s easy to feel burdened by the weight of the global pandemic, anxious about the uncertainties of COVID-19, and restricted by the limitations it spawned. It’s understandable if you find yourself in a constant cycle of frustration and disappointment.

In a time like this one, it becomes essential to celebrate the moments of hope and joy that break through grim milestones and the feelings of isolation or grief.

Good news can recharge us on our exhausting days and accelerate our optimism. Amidst the challenges that remain pressing and real, we have received good news, and it bears repeating.

2021: I See The Light

For all of us worn down by the events of 2020, the New Year has so far offered little relief. Where we thought we might turn the page from 2020 on January 1, we found the same, tiring tests on our energy and optimism: COVID-19 infection rates soared, our healthcare system reached a new level of overburdened and lines swelled at food banks as Americans continued to suffer through the economic consequences of a global pandemic.

The 2020 OBHPFG Holiday Cookbook

Welcome to the DBHDD’s Office of Behavioral Health Prevention & Federal Grants Holiday Cookbook. This has been a very difficult year for most of us and our office wanted to share the holiday spirit from our family and friends across the state with you. We wanted to help you get in the holiday spirit and shed some of those “bah humbug” feelings you may have.

The 2020 Word of the Year

I learned this week that the word of the year for 2020 is “pandemic”—not exactly breaking news. I can certainly acknowledge the power that this pandemic has had over our lives in 2020. And yet I want to offer my own word of the year for 2020, and that word is “hope.” For me, our individual and collective sense of hope has also been a driving force in 2020. As we engage in a very different holiday season than our traditional one, I aim to celebrate this gift of hope.

Dig Deep

November brings the opportunity to reflect on both service and gratitude, as we celebrate both Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. While so many elements of life are viewed differently in 2020, there are a few constants to be honored, including these very special holidays. Each one is important to Americans, and I have always admired the way these two holidays illuminate the human experience and remind us of the ways in which we bring out the best in each other.