September is National Recovery Month!

The following content is from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

National Recovery Month, sponsored by SAMHSA, aims to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who are in recovery. To mark this occasion, the Executive Mansion was lit purple on September 1st and 2nd and Governor Roy Cooper issued a proclamation. The theme for this year is: Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community. In keeping with the theme, DMH/DD/SAS is celebrating National Recovery Month with four weekly emails focusing on each dimension that supports a life in recovery: Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.


Did you know that people living with mental health conditions have higher rates of co-morbidity and early mortality than the general population? Many factors play a role in health disparities, including lack of knowledge and resources to support overall wellness – mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual. Wellness can improve the quality of life and increase years of life for people living with mental health conditions. Optimal health and recovery starts with being able to freely make informed, healthy choices that support well-being. Developing a personalized “toolbox” is a great way to be more prepared for when symptoms or significant stress arise. Wellness and safety plans, such as Wellness Recovery Action Plans® and Psychiatric Advance Directives, give a person the power to manage a difficult experience on their own terms using pre-determined strategies and resources.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®) is an evidenced-based, self-directed tool that was developed by a community of people living with mental illness who worked together to establish practical strategies for regaining and sustaining their own wellness. WRAP® guides a person to identify 1) wellness tools and a daily plan, 2) stressors and early warning signs, 3) signs that things are becoming worse and action plans for responding, 4) a specific crisis plan or advance directive, and 5) a post-crisis plan. A WRAP® may be kept in several different places for easy access and shared with others who are included in the plan as resources for support and/or decision-making when the person is not able to make decisions or keep safe. Using a personalized WRAP® can help to reduce upsetting feelings and symptoms, better manage or prevent a crisis, increase empowerment, improve quality of life, and achieve personal life goals and dreams. To learn more about WRAP®, including resources and facilitator training, visit The Copeland Center.

Psychiatric Advance Directives (PAD) take wellness planning to the next level. A PAD is a legal document that dictates a person’s preferences for treatment to providers in the event of a mental health crisis. The power to give or decline consent for specific future psychiatric treatments is in the hands of the person filling out the PAD. It is also a way to authorize a trusted person to make treatment decisions in a crisis, based on the person’s written preferences (also called health care power of attorney or health care agent).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-North Carolina features informational videos on PAD on their website. Check out the video on BarJohn Lee, a mental health advocate and NAMI-Charlotte chapter member, as she speaks about her personal experience with PAD.

Are you a recovery ally? Talk to your loved ones, friends, and community about WRAP and PAD. Offer these tools to the people receiving services in your mental health practice.


There are many events throughout North Carolina promoting recovery this month, including rallies, wellness fairs, candlelight vigils, and more that can be found on SAMHSA’s website. And don’t forget to wear purple!