Throughout September, mental health advocates and consumers will celebrate the power of wellness as part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Recovery Month. The event provides an opportunity to look beyond statistics and stigma to share stories and celebrate people. We invite you to join the Hogg Foundation this month in spreading the message that recovery is possible. We will share stories and information on our Facebook, Twitter and blog, and we hope that you will join the conversation.

SAMHSA defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals work to improve their own health and well-being, live a self-directed life, and strive to achieve their full potential.” A growing body of evidence shows that mental health recovery is an achievable, maintainable goal. An important part of making mental wellness possible has been the push to create opportunities for and give a voice to mental health consumers.

The Hogg Foundation has made involving consumers, youth and their families a top priority. This priority shift can be seen in our grantmaking criteria and in our new tagline, “Advancing Recovery and Wellness in Texas.” This important transformation has come with a number of initiatives to make that goal – recovery and wellness – even more achievable in Texas:

– 26 certified Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitators were trained through the East Texas Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (ETCMHR). Since, the ETCMHR facilitators have trained over 200 people in developing a WRAP. WRAP empowers mental health consumers to identify what makes and keeps them well and provides them with the tools to guide their own road to recovery.

– Via Hope, a foundation grantee that promotes wellness through educational and technical assistance resources, has trained almost 250 certified peer specialists across the state. A certified peer specialist is an individual in recovery trained to help others achieve wellness. The organization has also trained around 40 certified family partners, parents or guardians that have raised a child living with a mental illness and use their experiences to support others in a similar situation.

-The 17th Robert Lee Sutherland Seminar, “Spiritual Crossroads: Faith, Mental Health and the African American Community,” brought together nearly 350 mental health stakeholders to discuss African American mental health and explore more culturally appropriate, community-based means to provide services. The conference left attendees with fresh ideas and resources on how to address the needs of their communities.

Through more consumer-oriented initiatives, we are proud to take part in the recovery movement and continue helping Texas along the path of wellness. September provides a wonderful opportunity to come together and make the consumer voice heard even more loudly. We look forward to hearing your stories throughout the month. Feel free to share your comments, events and ideas with us.