Our mental health care providers are doing incredible work across northwestern Wisconsin. A few months ago, I toured Northwest Passage and their campuses in Frederic and Webster. Northwest Passage serves around 300 children through their residential mental health care programs each year.

In Dunn County, Arbor Place supports individuals living with substance use and/or mental health disorders through various treatment and programming options. Their mission starts with “the basic belief in the dignity and worth of each human being.”

Researchers at West Virginia University recently proposed viewing suicide and drug-related deaths as part of a larger issue called self-injury deaths. They argue that the behavior of these deaths is self-harm and noted that the most common form of suicide attempt is by drug overdose. From this perspective, the number of deaths from self-injury killed as many people as diabetes in 2014.

This September marks the 29th National Recovery Month. Recovery means that change is possible and that we can help people live up to the dignity and worth inherent in each of us. Please know that free, confidential help is available 24/7 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD). We all have a role in the lives around us. I hope you join me in challenging the stigma around mental health and substance use disorders and help support our friends, neighbors, and family members through their recovery process.