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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Nebraska Strong Connects Needs with Resources


September 15, 2021 | View PDF

Since the announcement of the coronavirus and the resulting pandemic, life has changed, to say the least. Some businesses have had to depend on emergency assistance to stay open, also changing their business plan to stay in line with health directives. Meanwhile others work harder with fewer employees, and still others have emotional struggles resulting from different family dynamics and fear of the virus itself.

That is where Nebraska Strong comes into play.

Nebraska Strong Recovery Project is an outreach project with individuals, families and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Nebraska. The organization provides community-based support and education to help residents cope during the pandemic.

Don Lease, representing Nebraska Strong Recovery Project, updated the Cheyenne County Commissioners on the program during the county's September 7 meeting. He said Nebraska Strong is here to connect people with needs to resources in the community. The project is funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in conjunction with the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.  Lease said the grant for the Sidney office has already been extended once and he doesn't expect it to be extended a second time, which will result in the program ending by the close of 2021.

One of the projects Nebraska Strong is involved with is helping promote National Recovery Month, he said.

National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate communities that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. The United States’ National Recovery Month was founded in 1989 and Purple was selected as the recovery movement’s official color. Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority (BHA) in conjunction with Nebraska Strong’s Recovery Project Crisis Counseling Program will be celebrating Recovery Month in September throughout the entire panhandle of Nebraska.

BHA has adopted the 2021 National Recovery Month theme, “Recovery is For Everyone, Every Person, Every Family, Every Community” to remind people in recovery and those who support them that no one is alone in the journey. Everyone’s journey is different, but we are all in this together.

Recovery Month continues to educate others about substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, the effectiveness of treatment and recovery services, and that recovery is possible. All of us, from co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family members, throughout our lives have experienced peaks and valleys, both big and small. But with strength, support and hope from the people we love, we ARE resilient.

Region 1’s Nebraska Strong outreach workers will be placing 1,440 purple pinwheels throughout the panhandle of Nebraska to show support to those on their recovery journey. Region 1 BHA providers were enlisted to help spread the word and be a visible supporter of Recovery Month. Pinwheels will be placed at Box Butte General Hospital, CAPWN, CrossRoads Resources, Human Services, Inc. Cirrus House, Karuna Counseling, Regional West Medical Center, Pathways to Wellness, NEPSAC, Mental Health Alliance and Western Community Health Resources, as well as many other locations throughout the panhandle.

Local communities can play a significant role in supporting those in recovery as they gain the independence, income, and resources necessary to fully participate in society. Behavioral health is essential to health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover. We as a community have the potential to make a difference and be visible, vocal, and valuable to help spread the message that recovery is possible.


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