According to www.recoverymonth.gov, “Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.”
Calling Georgia a leader in the recovery movement, Cynthia Wainscott looks to deliver a message of hope during the Recovery Rally for people experiencing mental health and/or substance abuse challenges.
“There’s only three [Peer Support, Wellness and Respite centers] in the state and we have one here in Cartersville,” said Wainscott, a member of Behavioral and Emotional Health Resources, which is a subcommittee of Bartow Health Access. “And they are being recognized as a new technology that leverages, they call it, the lived experience of people who have psychiatric disorders and are in recovery to help others. And what recovery is — recovery is not the absence of illness.
“... When you recover from a psychiatric disorder, it is not always gone. Sometimes people only have one episode of depression and they never have another one. And, I think, you could say then, it’s more like a cold. You got rid of it, it went away. It is more often true that when people have psychiatric disorders — particularly the more severe disorders, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe anxiety disorder, OCD, things like that — frequently, not always but frequently, it doesn’t go away, because it is a product of the functioning of your mind and body. ... Depression is defined by more than your mood. It also is accompanied by specific blood flow changes, specific neurotransmitter changes in your brain, and they may remain with you after you have treatment. But recovery means living successfully with the illness.”
Located at 201 N. Erwin St. in Cartersville, the Peer Support, Wellness and Respite Center is a project of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network and funded through a contract with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. The free services provided are for people 18 and older, who acknowledge that they have mental health and/or substance abuse challenges and want to move forward in their recovery. Along with peer support and wellness activities, the center also provides a complimentary respite program.
“People with psychiatric disorders want what everybody else wants,” Wainscott said. “They want to get their life back. They want something meaningful to do in the daytime and frequently that’s work or volunteer work or caregiving for a family member but something meaningful to do in the daytime; a safe, decent place of their own choosing to live; and friends.
“... What that does is makes the person’s life better and it makes society’s life better, because we have more people participating successfully in school or successfully participating in the economic system.”
Along with Wainscott, the rally will feature three other speakers: Neil Kaltenecker, executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse; James Guffey, director of Consumer Recovery Support, Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network; and Kathleen Varda, director of Strategy & Business Development, Highland Rivers Behavioral Health. The event also will offer live music, T-shirts, food and artwork for sale.
For more information about Bartow County’s Recovery Rally, call 770-276-2019.