How to Use the SAMHSA Recovery Month Toolkit to Promote Teen Recovery

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_national-recovery-month-logoAs a busy project director for Reclaiming Futures Hocking County, communications with the community and positive staff recognition often fall to the bottom of my to-do list, despite my best intentions. This is why the designation of September as National Recovery Month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and their annual Recovery Month toolkit is extremely helpful to me. I know that during the month of August and September, I will be focusing my efforts on helping to promote prevention, treatment and long-term recovery from substance use disorders, and that there are resources available to help me easily complete my mission. 
In August, I begin by preparing proclamations for our local government officials. In the toolkit, there are ready-made examples of both traditional and modern proclamations. Our local mayor and county commissioners have been very willing to sign on to this special initiative for the past three years. (To do this yourself, just call the office of that elected official whose support you want. There's usually someone in their office whose job it is to handle proclamations who can tell you what they need.)
Once I receive the signed proclamations, I post copies in prominent areas and ask our Reclaiming Futures Change Team members to do the same. During the month of September, I share the proclamations and information about Recovery Month and Reclaiming Futures Hocking County at any meeting I attend. I also send a copy of the signed proclamations to the Recovery Month website, where SAMHSA shares them online.

Our juvenile court judge, Richard Wallar, also welcomes the chance to participate, and he has written opinion editorials for our local daily, "The Logan Daily News," about Recovery Month every year for the past three years. (You can see his op-ed from this year here; and here's another, from 2009.)
I also write a press release (format is available on Recovery Month website) to thank the local politicians for their help, explain to the community what Recovery Month entails and to promote our own local work. We have a good relationship with our local press –- a reporter for The Logan Daily News is a member of our local Reclaiming Futures Change Team, and she helps support us when she can.
It's also important to mobilize your allies to talk about Recovery Month. For example, TASC of Southeast Ohio/Southern Ohio Solutions, one of our Reclaiming Futures partners, will be speaking at Hocking County’s Family and Children First Brown Bag lunch. The meeting is open to any member agency, and the September meeting will focus on how the TASC agency works locally to support both adolescent and adult treatment. Similarly, the director of FCFC is also a member of our Change Team, and is very supportive of the goals of Recovery Month.
Finally, during the month of September, I take the opportunity to write a letter of appreciation to all our hard-working staff – case managers, counselors and supervisors - and put this on Recovery Month letterhead, available in the online toolkit.
TIP #1: There are other resources available at, and we only utilize a few of them. Check out the website for more information.
TIP #2: Look out for other, similar opportunities. For example, one year, our Reclaiming Futures Leadership Committee hosted an open house for alcohol and drug treatment professionals during the month of September, but this year we are going to try this in October, in order to increase attendance. Tentative plans are to link this with a motivational speaker during Red Ribbon Week -- yet another nationally-recognized week focused on alcohol and drug use.  

 adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_Christa-MyersChrista Myers is the project director for Reclaiming Futures Hocking County, in Hocking County, Ohio. 

Updated: February 08 2018