UCM hosts program for National Recovery Month

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Consistent with the September National Recovery Month observance, area educators, law enforcement, and social workers came together recently at the University of Central Missouri to address recovery issues including those related to a unique population – former prisoners, who are reentering communities while tackling drug dependency.
“We wanted to hold an event that would help reduce stigma and educate the community that recovery is a reality,” Adriatik Likcani, Ph.D., assistant professor of child and family development in the Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development said.
Titled “Strengthening Families and Building Strong Communities,” the event on Sept. 9 was a collaboration between the UCM Child and Family Development program and Community Partners for Reentry and Recovery. Community Partners is a local coalition of agencies and community members-stakeholders who are invested in reentry and recovery programs.
About 190 individuals from a radius that covered communities such as Kansas City, Springfield, St. Joseph, and Jefferson City, attended the event, which also included at least 35 UCM faculty members and students, some of whom were among the guest speakers. Eleven special awards were presented to recognize individuals who have provided leadership and service to community programs related to recovery and reentry.
According to Likcani, the conference offered a total of 12 educational sessions on issues related to children, youth and families, mental health and substance abuse services, reentry services, and cultural competence. Speakers included experts and leaders in these areas, and representatives of successful programs and agencies in Missouri, including George Lombardi, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, and Mark Stringer, director of the Missouri Division of Behavioral Health, Department of Mental Health and UCM Distinguished Alumnus.
Individuals who are working in areas such as Probation and Parole are well familiar with the challenges faced by prisoners who are dealing with substance abuse issues as they are trying to reenter society.
“Often reentry of offenders from prison is associated with substance abuse treatment,” Likcani said. “Therefore, we combined both topic areas, reentry and recovery efforts, into one conference.”
“The goal was to provide education on needs surrounding reentry and recovery, share success stories to inspire hope and reduce stigma, and educate human service professionals on evidence-based practices for reentry and recovery,” Likcani said. The program also offered training to enhance participant’s skills, knowledge base and attitudes in order to improve the level of care for individuals and families in search of recovery and reentry programs for offenders.
Likcani noted that the array of topics included effects of addiction on children and families, interventions for children and families living with someone with an addiction, interventions for individuals in reentry and/or recovery process, spirituality and recovery, cultural competence, and advocacy.
The conference was attended by social service agency supervisors, mental health professionals, substance abuse counselors, nurses, probation and parole officers, school counselors, local faith leaders, and community residents.
National Recovery Month is an observance led by the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration to promote the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. It also celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all forms is possible. National Recovery Month spreads the positive message “that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.” Learn more by visiting the website, recoverymonth.gov.