During our Sept. 15 Parish Council meeting in Gonzales, I proclaimed September as National Recovery Month in Ascension Parish.

Substance use and mental disorders are treatable, and people should seek help for these conditions with the same urgency as they would with any other health condition.

We are joining with other government and medical service agencies across the United States in recognizing the societal benefits of treatment for substance use and mental disorders. We celebrate the efforts of people in recovery and applaud the contributions of treatment providers. The overall message is that recovery in all its forms is possible.

Here in Ascension Parish, we want our parish residents to know the Ascension Counseling Center provides help and services for people with substance use and mental disorders. We give all our residents the opportunity to gain help through the center that will improve their behavioral and emotional health. And these services can be provided at a reasonable cost.

Behavioral health is an essential part of our community’s overall wellness, and people can and do recover from substance use and mental disorders.

In 2010, 750 parish residents received 8,685 services at the Ascension Counseling Center for substance use or mental health problems.

To help more people achieve long-term recovery, and learn how recovery positively benefits parishes statewide, we are asking all Louisiana residents to join us in recognizing National Recovery Month.

Tommy Martinez

Ascension Parish president

Gonzales