Now in its 24th year, National Recovery Month celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery is possible.
Every September, hundreds of thousands of people from communities across the nation get together to celebrate recovery and to educate their communities about behavioral health issues.
This year's theme "Join the Voices for Recovery: Together on Pathways to Wellness" reflects the many ways people can prevent behavioral health issues, seek treatment, and sustain recovery as part of a commitment to living a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy life.
In June, President Obama launched the National Conversation on Mental Health to overcome the culture of silence that contributes to negative attitudes and misperceptions in increasing access to care and breaking down institutional barriers to treatment and recovery. We are also working to make mental health and substance use disorder services available to millions more Americans.
The Affordable Care Act, which builds on the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act, will extend substance use disorder and mental health benefits and federal parity protections to 62 million Americans. That's one of the largest expansions in behavioral health coverage in a generation.
Starting October 1, uninsured individuals and families will be able to shop for quality health coverage that meets their needs and budget through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, with coverage starting as early as January 1, 2014. More information is available at HealthCare.gov.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, most health plans must now cover preventive services like depression screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for children at no additional cost. Beginning 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny anyone coverage or charge more because of pre-existing mental health conditions or other pre-existing conditions.
Now, more than ever, there is hope, opportunity, and support for all Americans to join their voices together and support their loved ones, friends, and neighbors on the journey to recovery and wellness.
Recovery is possible. Recovery is real. I encourage everyone to celebrate recovery by organizing or joining a Recovery Month community event. Visit recoverymonth.gov and mentalhealth.gov to learn how we can all be part of the national effort to promote recovery for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.