i feel like shouting from the rooftops. but i guess i will simply declare that having become affiliated with AfR has been an uplifting experience. the opportunities that are presenting themselves to me are amazing. i am in awe of the experience of working on the wellness resource room for the convention here in denver. although, all i really did was organize and schedule about 20 volunteers, it does make my heart smile to be part of what i really hope becomes the first step in a major shift in american policy towards recovery and wellness.
imagine being at a huge political event such as a dnc, in a city you don't know, and the stress and the presence of major cocktail parties all day and all night finds you feeling triggered, or full of anxiety. but wait... all you have to do is find the wellness resource people and they can direct you to a group, or an organization, or a private practictioner. your experience can change almost in lightning speed. crisis averted.
yes addiction is a huge problem. but people recover. they recover every day and we might do better to hold on to that agreement field. we might encourage others to recover because recovery is a miracle. addiction ain't no big thing, not when it compares to the miracles that the healing brings. i strongly hope that this signals a shift in priorities in america. a turn toward investing our time and attention in some victors in this struggle. those who have come through the dark and try to live in the light.
this press release came across my desk today.
For Immediate Release Contact: Michelle Dell
August 23, 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
Whole Health Campaign Names 2008 Democratic National Convention the Most “Recovery Friendly” Convention in History
First-Ever Wellness Room Will Be Available at Denver Convention
Denver, CO – For the first time in the history of America’s national party conventions, a Wellness Room will provide peer-support meetings and other recovery support to delegates, guests, and staff at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The room will be staffed by volunteers from the Whole Health Campaign (WHC), an unprecedented collaborative of more than 70 mental illness and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery organizations that seek to make mental illness and addiction issues a priority for both presidential candidates and their parties.
The WHC will also host the first Recovery Caucus meeting in Democratic Party history on August 25 at 10am in Room 405 of the Convention Center. The open Caucus will highlight the party platform’s commitments to addressing addiction and mental disorders.
The WHC praised Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) for his leadership in securing the space at the Convention and his understanding of the importance of providing recovery resources to delegates and guests. “Addiction and mental illness touches nearly every American family, and these issues must be at the forefront of our national healthcare debate,” said Kennedy, who will be speaking at the Recovery Caucus breakfast and is an outspoken advocate for treatment and recovery. “The Wellness Room and Recovery Caucus meeting in Denver reflect the growing consensus on the Democratic side that mental health and addiction demand our immediate attention.”
The 2008 Democratic Party Platform refers to mental health and addiction issues more than any previous platform and includes the goals of ending discriminatory insurance restrictions on those who need treatment, providing expanded health care for veterans, encouraging treatment as an alternative to incarceration for drug related crimes and prioritizing the prevention of chronic diseases such as substance use and mental disorders.
The WHC is working on behalf of more than 84 million Americans with a mental health or addictive disorder to ensure that all public and private health plans provide adequate mental health and addiction treatment coverage. Likewise, the WHC supports policies that promote mental health and addiction recovery as integral to overall health and endorses research, prevention, early intervention, and treatment as an investment in America’s future.
“We are pleased that policymakers are celebrating recovery and supporting it through the Wellness Room, Recovery Caucus, and changes in the party platform,” said Dr.
Eric Goplerud, Director of the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy at George Washington University and an active member of the WHC. “The economic costs of substance use and mental disorders are measured in hundreds of billions of dollars each year.”
There will be Wellness Rooms in both the Colorado Convention Center and the Pepsi Center. They will be open August 25 - 28, with regularly scheduled 12-step and recovery support meetings. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a space for convention-goers in recovery from addiction or mental illness,” said Tom Coderre of Faces & Voices of Recovery, one of the event sponsors. “The regularly-scheduled 12-step and recovery-support meetings are open to everyone at the convention.”
The room is sponsored by Caron Treatment Centers, the Betty Ford Center, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, ASAM - American Society of Addiction Medicine, Faces & Voices of Recovery, the Denver Office of Drug Strategy, Advocates for Recovery Colorado, the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Colorado, Mental Health America, and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.
The WHC has offered to make a similar Wellness Room available at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
On-site media inquiries will be handled at a designated media table outside the Wellness Room in order to respect the confidentiality of those using the Wellness Rooms.
About the Whole Health Campaign
The Whole Health Campaign calls on Presidential candidates and political parties to adopt three principles:
• Ensure equitable and adequate mental health and addiction treatment coverage in all public and private health care plans
• Support policies that promote individual and family recovery from mental illness and addictions as integral to overall health
• Commit to investing in America’s future through prevention, early intervention and research on mental illness and addictions
The campaign is comprised of more than 70 mental health and addiction organizations. For a complete list of organizations supporting the WHC or for more information, visit http://wholehealthcampaign.org.