BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum today expressed their gratitude to the recovery advocates, legislative leaders, peer support specialists, individuals with lived experience, behavioral health care providers and other stakeholders who helped highlight the first-ever Recovery Day at the Capitol.
The event, announced during the second Recovery Reinvented event in September, was held to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness and the disease of addiction and to celebrate the power and hope of recovery.
“Recovery is a team effort, and it can’t just be done by state government. It has to be done by providers, community leaders, those with lived experience, our tribal partners, and efforts of everybody on the front lines, including family members and peers,” Gov. Burgum said to more than 150 people attending the program in Memorial Hall, including two dozen providers who spent the day connecting people with services and educational materials. “We have an opportunity here in North Dakota, working together, to create the strongest, most positive culture of any state in the U.S. that promotes recovery.”
The first lady shared her experience of being in recovery from addiction for more than 16 years, and she encouraged attendees to share their own stories of recovery to empower more people to step forward, share their experiences and get connected to vital resources.
“All you have to do is talk about it. Share a story. Talk about others in recovery. Talk about people you know who are struggling now. Just talk about it,” she said. “It will help normalize the conversation. It will help us bring this disease and the issues around mental illness and addiction to the forefront so it can eliminate stigma and become part of a holistic approach to health care.”
Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, House Majority Leader Chet Pollert and House Minority Leader Josh Boschee all attended in support of those in recovery and increased efforts toward addiction and recovery solutions. Emma Quinn of Fargo shared her personal story to emphasize the importance of mental health services and support systems to recovery.
Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division Director Pam Sagness explained the three components of the state’s behavioral health strategy: supporting the full continuum of care, increasing community-based services and preventing criminal justice involvement. For more information, visit the Behavioral Health Division’s website.
The governor concluded the program by reading a proclamation declaring today as Recovery Day in North Dakota. Individuals can show their support by using the hashtag #RecoveryDayND.
The first lady also noted that applications are still being received through Feb. 15 for the Youth Ending Stigma Challenge. More information is available at www.recoveryreinvented.com.