While conversations around addiction and substance abuse have become more common, a significant stigma still exists, so gains made by people in recovery can often go overlooked. National Recovery Month celebrates these gains, promotes education on addiction and mental health, and draws awareness to the effectiveness of evidence-based treatment.
The main goal of National Recovery Month is to disperse the positive message that behavioral health is critical to one’s overall wellness and that people are fully capable of recovering with the right prevention and treatment methods.
History of National Recovery Month
Initially known as “Treatment Works! Month,” National Recovery Month was established by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration back in 1989 to bring attention to the work being done by substance abuse clinicians. Since then, National Recovery Month has transformed to include both substance abuse and mental illness, and it now celebrates not just the work of professionals but also the progress made by the individuals themselves.
Why Telehealth Matters to Recovery
As technology continuously develops, patients and healthcare providers have more and more resources at their disposal for improving health literacy, increasing engagement, and expanding accessibility, all of which are critical components of recovery.
The more an individual knows about their condition, the more stable and productive their recovery journey will likely be. Telehealth, such as digital patient platforms, facilitate patient and provider connections, enabling clinicians to provide individuals with their health records, reliable educational resources on their condition, and options regarding their recovery plan. With higher health literacy, individuals in recovery are better equipped to make the decisions that are right for them and to better communicate with their healthcare providers.
Patient engagement is critical to positive health outcomes, and telehealth solutions have made it easier to maintain. With shortened communication pathways and the possibility for remote patient monitoring, telehealth has the potential to provide greater insight into why a patient may not be following a prescribed treatment plan as well as encourage adherence. Telehealth often promotes more patient-centered care by giving the patient greater control over their own health plan, and the more involved they are, the more they’ll be engaged and willing to comply.
Even when patients are fully willing to adhere to their treatment plan, other obstacles may prevent them from doing so. Individuals may not be able to leave their job for a visit to their healthcare provider, or they may not have the means of getting there. Whatever the obstacle may be, telehealth solutions, such as virtual appointments and online scheduling, can make treatment more flexible for the individual in recovery while allowing clinicians to care for more patients by cutting down wasteful wait times.
In the years preceding the foundation of National Recovery Month, the belief that criminalization was the solution to addiction exacerbated the already existing stigma surrounding substance abuse, and even mental health. This shame and embarrassment associated with behavioral health, plus a lack of education and accessibility, has stopped many from getting the treatment they need.
While it’s nowhere near gone, this stigma has decreased as telehealth solutions have developed. The more information people have regarding recovery, the less shame there will be surrounding it, and telehealth has helped put this education at individuals’ fingertips. The option for virtual visits has also improved the recovery process by letting those with more perceived shame speak with their healthcare provider in greater privacy.
Celebrate recovery with iTether
We work with addiction recovery and treatment facilities to support individuals in recovery with our proprietary telehealth solutions. Through individualized treatment programs and increased opportunities for patient-clinician communication, our platform is encouraging higher patient satisfaction and engagement, making what can feel like an impossible journey easier than ever before. Reach out to us today to learn what we can do to support your facility and your patients.