National Recovery Month: Celebrating Progress, Promoting Awareness

Founded in 1989, Recovery Month, a national observance that occurs annually during the month of September, recognizes the importance of evidence-based treatment and recovery practices. Recovery Month also aims to support the strong recovery community, all while honoring the tireless work of recovery service providers and community members that make recovery possible. This national observance is also a time to raise awareness surrounding mental health and addiction recovery. A message that is continuously shared throughout this month and the year is that recovery is possible. With the right treatment, support, and resources, recovery is possible for all.  

HealthCare Access Maryland’s (HCAM) Recovery Care Services State Care Coordination Program serves individuals who are experiencing alcohol and/or substance use disorders to overcome barriers while obtaining their sobriety. The program is voluntary and is designed to assist clients in moving from one level of care to the next by actively engaging with HCAM’s State Care Coordinators over a six-month time frame. The program serves clients residing in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and works closely with the Behavioral Health Administration, Baltimore County Health Department, Behavioral Health System Baltimore, and treatment sites within Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  

In order to qualify for the program potential participants must be: 

  • A Medicaid recipient; 
  • Diagnosed with a substance use disorder by a provider;  
  • Actively engaged in treatment to receive housing. 

The Recovery Care Services program at HCAM has nine staff members and has worked closely with over 16,000 individuals since its launch in 2007. Last year, HCAM’s Recovery Care Services program enrolled 3,703 individuals into its State Care Coordination Program. During the six-month program, the state care coordinator is responsible for connecting with their clients at minimum twice a month through face-to-face meetings, telephone check-ins, and by email. When a client is first enrolled in the program the interactions may be a little more frequent, as the coordinator secures funding for temporary housing, and submits financial assistance applications for clients that need a monthly bus pass, vital documents, clothing, and hygiene items which are often essential needs when entering the program. The goal of the interaction is not only to assist the clients with maintaining sobriety but to also hold them accountable for the goals they want to achieve during the six-month time frame of the program. 

One of our Recovery Care Services clients, Vanessa, started the program in May 2023. Vanessa stated that she had been in treatment a few times before with little to no success. Her Care Coordinator at HCAM, Cartraina, shared details about the program and the benefits that were offered while in the program. She received a bus pass, which helped her to make it to appointments. Vanessa shared “HCAM helped me with clothes, shoes, and other resources. I recently moved into my own apartment, which I’m very grateful for. I’m also grateful for being able to contact my HCAM coordinator with any questions or concerns. This is a huge step for me, and I’m determined to keep it up.” 

The Recovery Care Services leadership team consists of HCAM’s Director of Complex Care and Social Needs, Tamika Duppins, who began working with HCAM in November 2022. Shante Brookshire, the Recovery Care Services Program Manager has been with HCAM for almost two years and the Recovery Care Services Team Supervisor, Anesha Goins, has been with the agency for four years. Shante Brookshire shares, “The Recovery Care Services-State Care Coordination program is a very complex and demanding program that requires a great deal of empathy, compassion, and humility from all staff members. Despite the many barriers and challenges that are faced by the clients we serve, I must give huge kudos to the team, as they are the driving force behind this work.”

In February 2022, HCAM created the Peer Recovery Specialist position. This was the first time that the Recovery Care Services State Care Coordination program had created a role specifically for individuals with lived experiences. HCAM currently has two certified Peer Recovery Specialists working with individuals in Baltimore City, Shaun and Terry. Read below to learn more about Shaun and Terry and the motivation behind the work they do. 

  • Shaun, who recently celebrated fourteen years of maintaining his sobriety, shares that recovery is his life and means the world to him. Recovery has given him his life back and afforded him many blessings and gifts. “I am able to live a life beyond my wildest dreams. I have been through the horrors of addiction and by God’s grace I was delivered. Now I can reach back and inspire others who are suffering from substance use disorders and mental health disorders. This is a one-day at a time process and always will be.” 
  • Terry shared the following, “From the standpoint of my personal lived experiences, recovery means resurrection – mentally, physically, and spiritually. Recovery is that cold refreshing drink of water after being trapped on a hot, isolated island of my own creation (addicted behaviors). Recovery is the balance that enables me to have a smooth flight through life.   

Wondering how to stay up to date with HCAM’s Recovery Care Services program? Attend their Virtual Open House to learn more about the program and meet the team. The virtual event takes place on Friday, September 29th from 11am until 12pm. Register here. 

Get involved with the community this Recovery Month. 

  • Behavioral Health System Baltimore’s Annual Recovery Month Celebration – September 16th at 1pm at Eager Park 
  • 16th Annual Recovery Rally Run & Walk – October 7th at 12pm at Druid Hill Park 

If you or a loved one would like more information about HCAM’s Recovery Care Services program, contact Shante Brookshire at  

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