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Department of Behavioral Health Celebrates National Recovery Month

Thursday, September 15, 2016
To increase understanding of mental health and substance use disorders and celebrate recovery
The District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health is holding a Purple Wave Festival from 10 am to 3 pm, Saturday, September 24, 2016, on the Yard at Howard University to increase public awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders and to celebrate recovery.   
The Purple Wave Festival is a fun event with music, food and entertainment.  Community based providers will distribute information about wellness including mental and physical health. Sponsored with the DC Recovery Advisory Council, the Festival also will feature personal recovery success stories and highlight the value of family and community support for people living with mental health and or substance use disorders. 
The Department of Behavioral Health provides a range of mental health and substance use  disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services including emergency crisis services.  
“We want District residents to know that help is available, treatment works, and people recover.” said Tanya A. Royster, MD, Director of the Department of Behavioral Health. “The Purple Wave Festival encourages public conversation to dispel stereotypes and myths that too often discourage people from seeking needed help.” 
To enroll in treatment or for more information, call the Department’s 24 hour Access Helpline at 1-888-793-4357.  
Quick Facts
  • Among adults aged 18 or older, 43.6 million or 18.1 percent had a mental illness in the past year. Of this number, 9.8 million or 4.1 percent  had a serious mental illness.
  • 2.7 million adults made suicide plans and 1.4 million made nonfatal suicide attempts in 2015. More than 41,000 Americans died in 2013 as a result of suicide—more than 1 person every 12.8 minutes.
  • Among people aged 12 or older, 21.5 million people or 8.1 percent were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year.
  • An estimated 8.7 million or 22.8 percent of underage persons (aged 12 to 20) were current drinkers in 2014. Of this number, 5.3 million, or 13.8 percent were binge drinkers and 1.4 million, or 3.4 percent were heavy drinkers.
  • More than 7.9 million adults reported having both a mental illness and a substance use disorder.
  • Last year, nearly 30,000 eligible residents were enrolled in the District’s public behavioral health system.
For more information about Recovery Month, go to
National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the US Department of Health and Human Services. The observance raises awareness of mental and substance use disorders, celebrates individuals in long-term recovery, and acknowledges the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.