Governor Walz proclaims September Recovery Month

Highlights transformative power of recovery from substance use and mental illness
In recognition of National Recovery Month, Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed September 2020 Recovery Month in the state of Minnesota. The theme for this year’s Recovery Month is “Join the voices of recovery: Together we are stronger.” This month Minnesota recognizes that not only is it possible to recover, but that recovery is common.
“Too often substance use disorder and mental illness are seen as a life sentence, rather than the treatable diseases they are,” said Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “While the pandemic has made life more difficult for many of the people who were already struggling, Minnesota has an abundance of resources available to help people find and maintain their recovery and live full, rich and productive lives.”
In 2018, there were over 56,000 admissions to chemical dependency treatment in Minnesota. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most who enter chemical dependency treatment complete it and show considerable improvement, and abstinence from substance use and other benefits of treatment tend to continue over the long term.
Similarly, mental illness is common, but treatable. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nationally, one in five adults has some mental illness, and an estimated 100,000 children and youth in Minnesota need treatment for serious emotional disturbances. Mental illness treatment is highly effective, with between 70 and 90% of people having a significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life.
National Recovery Month 2020 comes at a difficult time for the state, the nation and the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many people in recovery or working to achieve recovery.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has been working to ensure that people get the services they need while staying safe from the pandemic. One strategy expanded the use of video and phone for a variety of SUD and mental health services. Examples include:
• Assessments for substance use disorder treatment
• Mental health services vital to maintain care
• School-linked mental health services to support students and families.
At the same time, DHS increased flexibility for grant-funded programs to allow existing funding to be used for technology and safety equipment, and delayed some requirements to protect staff and decrease the burden on providers.
Recovery Month, now in its 31st year, is a national effort by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Every September, SAMHSA sponsors Recovery Month to increase understanding of mental and substance use disorders, raise awareness about available resources and celebrate the gains made by people living in recovery. For more information about Recovery Month, visit