Monarch expert: “Recovery is Possible”

 Having worked in the field for the last 16 years, I have seen firsthand the benefits of recovery. At Monarch, we have seen individuals who embrace recovery and achieve improved mental and physical health, as well as stronger relationships and a sense of self-worth. Those who struggle both with serious mental illness and substance abuse face problems of enormous proportions. It is now generally agreed that as much as 50 percent of the mentally ill population also has a substance abuse problem, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Many people who have received the help and support they need are living healthy lifestyles. They need the support of a welcoming community to help them on their path of long-term recovery. Fortunately, more than 80 percent of Americans would think no less of a friend or relative if they discovered that person is in recovery from a mental illness and/or substance use disorder. Too many people are still unaware that recovery is possible through prevention, early intervention and treatment, similar to other health disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. We need to work together to make recovery the expectation.

I want to thank Gov. McCrory for his proclamation, which helps to raise awareness about the positive impacts of recovery. Educating ourselves and others are small ways we can make a difference in the lives of many people in our communities. We shouldn’t think twice about getting involved. Recovery is possible. Together, we make that possibility a reality.

For information about Monarch’s behavioral health and substance abuse services in your county, please call (866) 272-7826.

The following organizations offer additional important resources about mental health and substance abuse. To learn more, visit:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – 
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy –
Mental Health First Aid –
National Alliance on Mental Illness –
National Institute of Mental Health –
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) – 

Established in 1958, Monarch provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges from more than 50 North Carolina counties. The agency is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and is CABHA certified. Monarch is an affiliate chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch is “Helping Dreams Take Flight” for people living in our communities, please call (800) 230-7525.                

Ben Millsap, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, CCS, serves as senior clinical director at Monarch. Millsap completed his undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech and earned a master’s degree in social work from UNC-Charlotte. He has worked previously in inpatient behavioral health settings, case management, outpatient therapy, and in various leadership roles and has been instrumental in many of Monarch’s behavioral health new service acquisitions.