The dialogue around substance abuse and mental health disorders, when it happens at all, is often shrouded in shame, blame and guilt. An event in Missoula this weekend is aiming to change that, and also to celebrate people in recovery.
This Sunday at Caras Park, Western Montana Mental Health Center and Recovery Center Missoula will host "Facing Recovery," an event aimed at changing the way community members think about addiction and mental health.
Patrick Ryan is an addiction counselor for both organizations.
“You can’t turn around without somebody being intimately connected to these problems," Ryan said. "And with Facing Recovery I really want it to be the start of a larger dialogue.”
The event will include informational booths from community groups involved in addiction and mental health. Organizations like Partnership Health Center, Open Way Mindfulness Center, and the Missoula Urban Indian Health Center will be there to answer questions and talk about the services they offer.
Ryan says there will also be stories from community members about recovery. Mayor John Engen, local radio DJ Angel Hughes, and Brenda Desmond, who is involved in Missoula court programs dealing with mental health and substance abuse, are all scheduled to talk.
“So there’s that part of it that gets kind of real and really talks about what recovery is and what it means," Ryan said. "But at the same time, we want to also show that it’s not a glum, somber kind of thing. This is a blossoming of life that people get when they can get help and they can get past what their problems might be.”
Ryan says Facing Recovery is not just a way to raise awareness about mental health and substance abuse; it’s a celebration for those in recovery.
It will feature live music, food trucks, and activities for families and kids.
Facing Recovery is this Sunday from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at Caras Park in Missoula.