Promoting recovery with education

In recent years, mental health and substance use disorder treatments have focused on a recovery model of care. The recovery model is a philosophy about mental health conditions and substance use disorders that emphasizes a person’s potential to improve and live well. Recovery is viewed as a personal journey rather than a set outcome. Recovery journeys bring a number of resources to the individual as well – connecting physical health care and mental health care with social supports for a holistic approach to recovery.

Recovery shifts the focus from surviving to living a life a person chooses to lead, not one controlled by an illness or diagnosis. Bringing together a broad range of treatment options, the recovery model adds a new dimension of care and allows for individuals with mental health conditions and substance use disorders to take control of their lives and give it meaning.

Recovery is most sustainable and successful when those in recovery are lifted up and receive strengthened community support, serving as a foundation for recovery. Community and societal acceptance of individuals affected by mental health conditions and substance use disorders, including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination, are critical in achieving recovery. Raising awareness and bringing education to the community is the goal of the third annual St. Clair County Community Mental Health (SCCCMH) Recovery Summit. Building on a concept developed to highlight substance use in our community, the Recovery Summit has evolved to encompass all aspects of recovery.

This virtual presentation of seminars is hosted during the month of September and is open to all community members. The summit brings together speakers from a diverse range of perspectives, including individuals in recovery, addiction professionals, physicians, university professors, law enforcement, public health, and more, to discuss a wide range of health and recovery topics related to mental health and substance use disorders. A number of presentations also focus on youth and substance use.

Believing recovery benefits everyone – the individual, the family, the community – the virtual series is free and encouraged for all to attend. Focusing conversations and opportunities for community-wide education, these one-hour presentations are offered at multiple times during the day, Monday through Friday, throughout the month of September. The series is designed to be informative and reduce the stigma around mental health and substance use disorders.

Speaker presentation during St. Clair County Community Mental Health's 2021 Recovery Summit.

Strategically placed in September, the Recovery Summit is the highlight of local efforts during Recovery Month. Recovery Month was initially spearheaded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery, in all of its forms, possible. Recovery Month raises awareness and celebrates gains made by those in recovery from mental health conditions and substance use disorders, just as we celebrate improvements made by those managing other health conditions.

Addressing the nation-wide drug crisis, understanding mental health and substance use disorder recovery, and the effects of these concerns on St. Clair County and the State of Michigan, the Recovery Summit provides an examination of current efforts, local initiatives, treatment approaches, the recovery process, prevention strategies, and more. Recovery Summit topics include: 
  • Roundtable discussion on treatment and recovery supports in St. Clair County.
  • Combatting shame, guilt, and isolation for those new in recovery.
  • Learning about supports available from local organizations to support those in their recovery journey; and how to eliminate stigmatizing language in order to better support individuals with mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
  • Understanding diagnosis criteria for substance use disorders for both adults and youth, gaining insight on common drugs of abuse, and identifying resources to help treat or prevent substance use disorders.
  • Discussion on chronic pain and resources to treat the underlying mechanisms of chronic pain; examining the role other body systems play in chronic pain and fatigue.
  • Understanding barriers to access and the utilization of medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder.
  • Current and emerging drug threats.
  • Discussion on Michigan’s “Clean Slate” laws. “Clean slate” laws provide for greater access to employment, education, and housing. The discussion centers on eligibility under the new laws with an overview of the process.
  • Efforts to address societal changes which have led to increases in substance use, mental health conditions, and disparities in health care access, and how we can move forward in a more equitable way.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) presentation discussing the process, how EMDR can assist with recovery, and a protocol that targets the triggers and urges of addictions and dysfunctional behaviors.
  • Emerging drug trends among youth in St. Clair County and their impact on the community. This will also feature a discussion regarding the top three drugs used by St. Clair County teens, methods of delivery, and the long-term health effects experienced by local youth.
  • Law enforcement and substance use disorder recovery partnerships in St. Clair County, focusing on programs, collaborations, and initiatives currently active in our area.
  • Recovery stories. Learn more about those in recovery and their journeys, specifically about the power of persistence in recovery.
  • Treatment options and accessibility of substance use disorder services in St. Clair County. This will include information on available services, eligibility for services, and access to services.
  • Link between eating disorders and substance use. This presentation will explore the connection between eating disorders in adults and youth with co-occurring substance use disorders.
  • Motivational interviewing to promote engagement in substance use disorder treatment; motivational interviewing enhances intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence, which has been found to reduce substance use.
  • Understanding the core components of an evidence-based implementation of contingency management, a behavior modification intervention that reinforces desired behaviors through incentives.
  • Talking about substance use with your teen; discussion will focus on how to talk to teens about substance use and tips to promote honest and open discussion. Warning signs of teen substance use will also be presented.
St. Clair County Community Mental Health is located at 3111 Electric Avenue in Port Huron.

During the month of September, all Recovery Summit webinars are provided at no cost to participants, including those that offer continuing education opportunities for professionals; however, advance registration is requested. Recordings of most presentations will be available after the summit on St. Clair County Community Mental Health’s YouTube channel (continuing education credits not available for recordings). Additional information about the Recovery Summit, including links for pre-registration can be found online at

The recovery process provides a holistic view of individuals with mental health conditions and substance use disorders, focusing not just on symptoms, but the person as a whole. The process also calls for optimism and commitment from many – those with mental health conditions or substance use disorders, their families and support systems, mental health professionals, public health teams, law enforcement, social services, and the community as a whole. By embracing new and innovative ways to work together, we can reduce stigma and strengthen the recovery community for all who call St. Clair County home.

If you are struggling with a mental health condition or substance use disorder and seek assistance, call SCCCMH’s Access Center at (888) 225-4447. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.