Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Recovery Month

  • Agency:
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Office:
    Office of Communications (OC)
  • Solution:
    Synergy develops and manages SAMHSA/OC’s vast portfolio of national outreach, public education, and engagement campaigns. The campaigns are part of SAMHSA’s ongoing efforts to decrease substance abuse and improve mental health and overall wellness among Americans of all ages. In this work, Synergy helps SAMHSA develop, expand, promote, and evaluate multiple national initiatives.

Synergy's Approach

National Recovery Month has celebrated people in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders for 25 years. This national observance also highlights the work of treatment and service providers and promotes the idea that recovery is possible. During National Recovery Month, which is celebrated each September, organizations sponsor events and activities in communities across the country. In our work on this campaign, Synergy has developed a strategic communications and marketing plan to articulate the strategies and tactics employed each year. Working with SAMHSA staff, our plan maps out ways to: raise the profile of Recovery Month, disseminate campaign information to communities and behavioral health professionals, empower communities to use branded campaign resources to plan recovery events and spread the message that recovery is possible, share relevant and engaging content, and leverage all relevant communication channels to promote campaign resources and increase knowledge and understanding of mental and/or substance use disorders.

Each year, our team works with SAMHSA staff and Recovery Month Planning Partners (community organizations involved in the recovery movement who serve as an advisory committee) to set out an overall concept, themes, and target audiences for the annual observance. We then develop and produce two television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) in English and Spanish that highlight the theme and encourage people to seek help for their mental and/or substance use disorders by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline. Synergy manages every aspect of PSA development—from concept development and presentation to SAMHSA and Planning Partners, to extensive pretesting in focus groups, to submission to SAMHSA for review and approval followed by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) submission and clearance, and finally, to casting, production, and post-production. Our Recovery Month support also involves promoting campaign messages and activities by crafting monthly content for Facebook and Twitter accounts. This strategy connects individuals throughout the nation and supports those in recovery.