"Tough as a Mother" campaign connects Colorado moms to substance use disorder treatment services

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May 8, 2020 (DENVER) — This Mother’s Day, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) will join partners in launching Tough as a Mother, a statewide campaign connecting Colorado mothers with dependent children to substance use disorder treatment services in their communities. 

Tough as a Mother is a collaborative statewide initiative funded by OBH and led by the state’s Managed Service Organizations for substance use services: Signal Behavioral Health Network, AspenPointe, Mental Health Partners and West Slope Casa. The campaign acknowledges the incredible pressures of motherhood and the intrinsic strength of mothers to overcome challenges, including substance use disorder.

“Research shows that stigma is a significant barrier to treatment, and asking for help may be especially hard for mothers,” said Camille Harding, director of OBH's Community Behavioral Health division. “This campaign celebrates mothers’ resilience and reminds them that recovery is possible and treatment is available.” 

Behavioral health conditions are among the leading causes of maternal mortality in Colorado, according to research published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. More women died by suicide and accidental overdose during the prenatal through the first-year postpartum period than any cause of death between 2004 and 2012. 

Tough as a Mother seeks to remove stigma as a barrier to treatment by acknowledging that substance use disorder is a medical condition, not a moral shortcoming, and those who suffer are worthy and deserving of support and treatment. The campaign aims to empower women to prioritize their mental, emotional and physical health and relies on a mix of outreach strategies, including partner engagement, community outreach, and traditional and digital media marketing and advertising.

“Tough as a Mother aims to speak to the emotional feelings that drive addiction rather than the substances themselves,” said Kristy Jordan, Senior Director of Development & Communications with Signal Behavioral Health Network. “It is to encourage mothers to be honest about the issues they are struggling with that may be driving their substance use. We hope to reduce the fear of stigma that mothers feel related to seeking treatment and encourage them to prioritize their health over their concern about other people’s perception of them.”

To complement the new program, Tough as a Mother partnered with Colorado’s Recovery Cards Project to design a greeting card for mothers working toward recovery. Part of the Lift The Label anti-stigma campaign, the Recovery Cards Project provides free greeting cards that recognize Coloradans taking steps to overcome addiction and the loved ones supporting them. Since the project’s launch last September, more than 20,000 cards have been mailed to all 50 states, with nearly 7,500 orders placed. The cards are available to order for free or can be immediately shared on Facebook.

About Tough as a Mother: Tough as a Mother is a statewide public awareness campaign, launching this month, to help connect Colorado mothers with dependent children to substance use treatment providers in their communities. It’s a collaborative statewide initiative among the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health and the Managed Service Organizations: Signal Behavioral Health Network, AspenPointe, Mental Health Partners and West Slope Casa. For more information, visit www.toughasamother.org.

About the Recovery Cards Project: The Recovery Cards Project was created by Colorado’s opioid anti-stigma campaign, Lift The Label, to spotlight the importance of recovery. Working with artists in Colorado and nationwide, the Recovery Cards Project offers free cards to celebrate recovery, the efforts of those working to achieve it, and the people who support and encourage them every day. For more information, visit www.recoverycardsproject.com

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble
Deputy Director of Communications