Friends, it has been a tough year for many of us as COVID-19 radically altered the way we live. Hugs, handshakes, pats on the back, and personal conversations have been replaced by Zoom chats, elbow bumps, and too much time spent alone at home. I miss the freedom to walk into Rosecrance facilities and see people’s faces light up as they share their recovery stories or tell me of a breakthrough with a client. We humans are made for connection, and this social distancing thing is destroying one of our greatest needs.
As tough as these days are for me, isolation is even more difficult for our friends, relatives, and neighbors who struggle with substance use or mental health disorders. The most recent data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report that 47.6 million adults in the U.S. have mental illnesses and 20.3 million adults have substance use disorders. Of these people, 9.2 million have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Compelling. Daunting.
There is strong evidence COVID-19 is making the current situation worse. In fact, it has been called a second “pandemic of depression” by one expert. Recent reports from the American Medical Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show about one quarter of Americans are experiencing signs of depression — a threefold increase since before the pandemic. Social isolation is one major reason people are struggling now. As social beings, we need each other to thrive, no matter the situation. That is why Rosecrance has remained open, fully staffed and safely continues to be a place of life-giving treatment and fellowship for thousands of individuals in recovery.
Despite the pandemic, our residential sites have emphasized group meetings and check-ins with counselors, even when some of the formats have been modified for safety. Our outpatient teams have adapted to virtual meetings where possible. In addition, our alumni are staying connected through supportive programming developed for our mobile app. Through these avenues, we still are celebrating personal milestones, challenging life’s valleys, and leaning on each other to see another sunrise and sunset together.
In conjunction with National Recovery Month celebrations across the U.S., Rosecrance is proud to honor all who have supported friends and loved ones on the recovery journey. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections” is an excellent reminder that none of us can go through life alone. We may face our own struggles, but with strength, support, and hope from a faithful few, we are resilient. I want to personally thank each of you who has walked beside a loved one through their struggles. The gift of your presence and strength has given someone else the hope they need to live life well in recovery.
If you or a loved one is experiencing substance abuse or mental illness, don’t delay. Call us today at 815-391-1000 or visit our website at rosecrance.org. We are here to help. From the initial assessment through the entire treatment process, Rosecrance provides individuals and families with quality care, expertise, and the best opportunity for lasting recovery. Be well. Stay safe. Life’s waiting.