Cardinal Innovations Northern Region Celebrates September as National Recovery Month

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — August 25, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 25, 2014 – Recovery has been a tough, but rewarding journey for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions employee Shirley Robinson, a consumer affairs specialist with the Five County Community Operations Center in Henderson, N.C., serving Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Vance and Warren counties.

Robinson, who has struggled much of her adult life with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder as well as substance use and addiction, is sharing story to help others during National Recovery Month, which is observed in September. Her condition nearly cost her life before she found the treatment she needed to enter recovery, she said.

Originally from a family of 11 children born to sharecroppers in the Henderson, N.C., area, Robinson followed her husband to California, where she eased the pain of physical, mental and emotional abuse with alcohol and marijuana before turning to crack cocaine.

“It erased all of my pain,” she said. “It became the solution for my fears, my sorrows, my pain, my gains, my everything,” she said.

Off and on, Robinson would fight the addiction, sometimes sobering for years at a time. But she relapsed when she began caring for her ailing mother, who suffered from dementia and other illnesses. The stress of being a caregiver pushed her back into the drug use, she said. She contemplated suicide and that’s when she decided to seek help.

“That is when I knew I had to get help,” she said. “I almost walked out in front of a truck.”

Something stopped her. Robinson is in recovery now and works for Cardinal Innovations, helping others who are working on their recovery. She says recovery gave her new life, new hope and a revived spirit. “Recovery has helped change my life for the better and I want to make it possible for others to do the same,” she said.

More than 600,000 people in North Carolina and 23 million people nationwide are in recovery. Cardinal Innovations’ Northern region, which serves people in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Orange, Person, Vance and Warren counties, are planning to participate in several events in September in recognition of National Recovery Month, an effort to educate Americans about how addiction treatment and mental health services can enable people with mental illness and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

“Recovery isn’t the absence of symptoms,” said Mike Weaver, a Cardinal Innovations employee and a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Board of Directors and chair of the NAMI Policy Committee. “I still have symptoms. I still have periods of depression, high anxiety. I still have to deal with suicidal thoughts from time to time, the only difference is that I know how to steer those and, perhaps, I spend less time bothered by some of that than I use to.”

In 2012, 43.7 million adult Americans ages 18 and older reported having a mental illness in past year. Of those, 17.9 million received mental health services in the past year. Among the 9.6 million adults with serious mental illness in 2012, 6 million received mental health services in the past year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2010, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 25 to 34, and the total number of suicides and alcohol- and drug-induced deaths is greater than deaths caused by traffic accidents, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer combined.

North Carolina taxpayers save $7 for every $1 spent on treatment and $5.60 for every $1 spent on prevention as a result of increased productivity, and reduced healthcare, criminal justice and social services costs, according to Gov. Pat McCrory’s proclamation signed on June 4 declaring September as National Recovery Month in North Carolina. Recent studies show that the treatment of alcohol and/or drug use disorders reduces drug use by 50 percent and crime by 80 percent with arrests down by up to 64 percent.

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