by Victoria Shea
(Plain Press, September 2018) In honor of September being National Recovery Month, on August 27, Craig Dunson, CEO and Executive Director of Lifeworks Behavioral Health Solutions introduced the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County’s (ADAMHS) fourteen Recovery Month Billboards that will appear around Cuyahoga County in the next few weeks.
Dunson, who suffers from bipolar disease and depression and who appears on one the billboards regarding his twenty-four-year recovery from drugs stated that he participated because “people believe talking about mental health is crazy but it’s crazy not to talk about mental health.”
Explaining his past, Dunson stated that he was a member of Narcotics Anonymous where the stigma of being a user made anyone attending meetings vulnerable to arrest and that he was proud of his recovery where now instead of being Craig D. he is now Craig Dunson.
The goal, he stated, of the campaign was to be the voice for those who don’t have a voice for themselves.
After the billboards were revealed, ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County Chief Executive Officer Scott Osiecki, announced that the difference between the current campaign verse other campaigns was the fact that the billboards featured actual stories of those recovering from drugs, alcohol and mental health issues.
“We’re so proud of the individuals who came forward and told their stories,” Osiecki said. “We’re very excited about that.”
Osiecki also stated that in addition to the billboards, ADAMHS plans to use the billboard designs throughout the rest of the year in the form of posters to be used at their offices as well as at conferences for the rest of 2018.
In addition to the billboard campaign, Madison Scagnetti, Community Relations/Engagement Specialist for ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County and Katie Kurtz, Medical Educator for The MetroHealth System, Office of Opioid Safety introduced Recovery CLE.
Recovery CLE, a social media campaign that’s kickoff was that evening, was created as a way to remember those who have passed from the opioid epidemic, as well as celebrate those who were able to overcome their addictions. As a team, Recovery CLE was created “to celebrate and elevate the faces and voices of the people in recovery” said Kurtz.
The purpose of Recovery CLE is to upload and share what recovery from addiction means to those who have recovered from addiction. “Like Craig said, this is how we bring to embrace and take ownership of that stigma, how we take back the power away from stigma to really create, to break down the walls of the face of recovery in our community,” Kurtz added.
Scagnetti stated that to post stories to Recovery CLE on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, people should use #recoverycle.