The fourth annual Recovery Reinvented program is coming at an important time and being delivered in a manner that will be helpful for people in need, according to Katherine Burgum, first lady of the state of North Dakota.
Recovery Reinvented will be held online from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 28. The event is free and open to anyone who registers. The program presents information about mental health, addiction and recovery. The goal is to create innovative solutions for recovery in North Dakota, Burgum said.
Burgum selected mental health and addiction issues as her agenda early in her time as first lady.
"In my first year as first lady, I knew I had to talk about recovery and addiction," she said. "I talked about my own recovery."
Burgum recently participated in a White House Roundtable discussion on addiction sharing her story of recovery and the importance of recovery-friendly workplaces.
Previous Recovery Reinvented programs have been held at convention centers in North Dakota.
"It will be completely virtual," she said, speaking of the changes made for this year's event due to the coronavirus pandemic. "More people will have the opportunity to attend. It is an opportunity for people to learn where they can get help."
The program is designed to meet the special needs of North Dakota residents now.
"We tried to get the pulse on what's happening in North Dakota now," Burgum said. "We wanted to talk about the intersection of mental health and addiction issues."
A COVID-19 community impact survey conducted by the state of North Dakota this summer found 67.9% of North Dakotans have experienced an increase in mental health struggles including anxiety and depression. The same study found nearly 20% of North Dakotans reported an increase in substance abuse since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The program includes discussions of adverse childhood experiences and how to build a recovery-friendly workplace. It will also feature personal stories of addiction and recovery, program updates and resources available through the state of North Dakota.
Working with adults to identify their adverse childhood experiences can help identify effective treatments for adult mental health issues, Burgum said.
Speakers at the program include Drew Pinsky, a medical doctor with experience in treating mental health and addiction problems, who will share his insight around strategies to eliminate the shame and stigma surrounding addiction.
Also speaking is author David Sheff. Sheff's book, "Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction,” was made into a movie. Sheff has been an advocate for mental health and addiction treatment since the publication of his book.
Burgum said Recovery Reinvented has long-term goals.
"The disease of addiction is like any other," she said. "It would be great to find a cure."
Along the way to that goal, she said she hopes to improve people's access to mental health care.
"If we eliminate the stigma of mental health problems it will help people get help," Burgum said. "It would be huge progress if treatment was included with regular health care rather than separate."
Registration for Recovery Reinvented is available at https://recoveryreinvented.com/. Once registered, participants will be able to stream the contents of the event as they occur.