Saving lives through awareness: new campaign highlights addiction, behavioral health services

Overdoses continue to claim the life of one person every 22 hours in Delaware, on average.

There is help available, but do people know about it?

You will be hearing and seeing the message often in the next two months, as part of a new awareness campaign unveiled Monday, May 6, 2019, by the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium.

Posters, signs, table-top covers in such places as Christiana Mall, messages on buses, floors, public restrooms, and on radio and social media - all will depict what appear to be typical individuals who happen to be battling addiction, alcoholism, depression, anxiety or other disorders.

The key message: "No one has to struggle alone."

"There is no reason you should feel that it's a bad thing to reach out for help, whether it be a counselor, a helpline...there are always people here that are willing to help you, and reach out and support you," Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Director Elizabeth Romero said.

"We don't want anyone to struggle alone," Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long said. She is chair of the Behavioral Health Commission, which was proposed by Governor John Carney in 2017. In May of 2018, the consortium released a report and a series of recommendations on how to identify people in need of treatment and get them into timely, effective treatment.

Kim Lovett of Wilmington, the parent of someone who battled addiction, said stigmas are also prevalent despite progress made in recent years. One stigma, she said, is that substance abuse is a choice.

"It has different impacts on different people. It becomes quickly, for some, not a choice," Lovett said. "For anyone I know that's in recovery, it was never a 'choice.' I don't know anyone who has ever raised their hand and said 'when I grow up, I want to be addicted.'"

"I think that this will begin to save many, many lives."

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For more information, please visit www.helpisherede.com or call:

1.800.652.2929 in New Castle County

1.800.345.6785 in Kent and Sussex counties