During National Recovery Month in September, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center is partnering with Letters From Lisa, an initiative that sends handwritten notes to “brighten peoples’ days.”
Understanding the power of positivity and kindness, MiraVista engaged Letters from Lisa to, throughout the month, share additional words of encouragement and support with those who are seeking treatment for their substance use in MiraVista’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP.)
Letters from Lisa was founded in May of 2020 during the Pandemic by Lisa Giuffre who is a resident of New Jersey and a Speech Pathologist as she recognized so many individuals were struggling with isolation and loneliness. Lisa loves mail so much that she also writes notes and is the Treasurer of Not Alone Notes, a nonprofit that sends notes to people with OCD and related mental health diagnoses. She is a board member and social media chair for OCD New Jersey, an affiliate of the International OCD Foundation. As someone living with mental illness, Lisa knows the importance of acknowledging the intensely hard work that can accompany a person’s journey to recovery. Whether for substance use or mental health.
According to Kimberley Lee, Chief of Creative Strategy and Development, the handwritten notes will serve as a reminder of the incredible resiliency demonstrated by those who are receiving the care they need, while delivering a special kind of warmth that comes with a handwritten note.
“Our staff at MiraVista support individuals every day in sustaining recovery, acknowledging the hard work they do in recovery and educating them that they are not alone,” Lee said. “We are here for them. National Recovery Month provides the opportunity to reinforce that message and our recognition of their commitment.”
She added, “National Recovery Month highlights that evidence-based treatment is available to help individuals challenged by mental health, as well as substance use issues manage those issues and lead fulfilling lives in their community.”
During the last three years, Letters from Lisa has mailed over 1,100 letters of encouragement written in bright colors and often with an illustration to 43 states and 49 countries and received a number of responses on their positive effect.
Giuffre shared, “I’ve struggled with my mental health my entire life, specifically severe OCD, Trichotillomania, and Anxiety. I have been in therapy for over half my life, and on meds since high school. In the last few years, I have been to Intensive Outpatient Programs three times and a residential treatment program for nine weeks. I love writing encouraging letters to people who are going through their mental health journey because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to have your brain fight you. I love that I can show these letter recipients that they are not alone in their struggles. Writing letters has even made me feel less alone in my struggles, especially when I was writing letters during treatment, I was able to see that other people were going through tough times as well. In every letter I write, I tell the person that they are loved, they are important, and they matter. I think this is such an important reminder, because oftentimes, when struggling with mental health, our brain makes us believe these things aren’t true. To all those reading: Keep on keeping on. You got this!”
MiraVista offers a continuum of inpatient behavioral health care, and outpatient substance use recovery services that include an Opioid Treatment Program with same-day admission and free transportation, substance use counseling, intensive day treatment programming (with evening sessions in English and Spanish) and free Narcan that can reverse an opioid drug overdose.
National Recovery Month dates to 1989 and is marked by events around the country to promote education and understanding on the medical conditions that substance use and mental illnesses are, the effectiveness of treatment for them, and support for those accessing treatment.