Recovery is for everyone, help is available | News, Sports, Jobs

Often, people with mental health or addiction issues feel isolated and alone. Yet each year millions of Americans suffer from these conditions. It is estimated that one in 10 Americans suffers from a substance use disorder.

In November 2020, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 44% of Americans suffered from depression or anxiety, and recent polls also show that many are turning to drug addiction to cope during these stressful times.

It is important that we provide support to people struggling with mental health and addiction issues. In fact, we need to create environments and relationships that foster acceptance. Supporting families is essential to recovery, so it is important that family members also have the tools to start conversations about prevention, treatment and recovery.

Too many people are still unaware that prevention programs work and that mental health and addiction disorders can be treated, just like other health problems. We know recovery is possible.

Having worked in behavioral health for over 35 years, I have witnessed the positive reality of recovery. People who embrace recovery improve their mental and physical health and build stronger relationships with neighbors, family members and peers. They improve their ability to become parents and help end the cycle of substance use. We need to help more people feel that recovery is possible, so that they can reap these benefits.

Mental health and substance abuse disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, sexes, geographies and socio-economic levels. They need to know that help is available. These people can get better, both physically and emotionally, with the support of a welcoming community.

I urge all members of the community to help stem the incidence of mental health and substance abuse disorders, and to let people know that free and confidential help is available. Call Maui Behavioral Health Resources directly at (808) 579-8414 and we’ll make sure you get the care that’s right for you. A 24-hour crisis hotline is also available through Hawaii Cares at (800) 753-6879.

Providing support to people with mental health and addiction disorders can make a huge difference. Together, we can help others fulfill the promise of recovery and give families the right supports to help those loved by them.

* Jud Cunningham became CEO of Aloha House in 1995 and was appointed CEO of Maui Behavioral Health Resources when Malama Family Recovery Center and Maui Youth & Family Services merged with Aloha House in 2008. All three agencies provide mental health treatment and drug addiction. For more information, visit

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