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ROCHESTER, Minn. – Members of the Rochester community recovering from mental illnesses and addictions are joined together on Saturday morning in an effort to break free from the negative stigma often associated with these issues.
Founder of Recovery is Happening, Tiffany Hunsley is celebrating nine years of recovery and says this event is important to have because it helps everyone understand how to communicate about mental illnesses and addiction.
“We’re really working today to bring awareness and education to our community that there is no shame in asking and seeking help if you’re suffering from these issues,” Hunsley said.
Dave Wellstone, son of the late US Senator Paul Wellstone, was the speaker at today’s event.
Wellstone’s father, mother and sister were killed in a plane crash in 2002, which led to Dave’s struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This is some of the stuff I do,” Dave said. “I go and talk about passing that federal bill and the need for us to talk about it in every family but it’s one of these untalked about things.”
In 2008 Dave Wellstone succeeded in passing the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, which gives people working toward recovery opportunities to have better insurance that would help cover some of their bills.
This bill was especially important for Wellstone because of his own history with mental illness.
“My father, for 15 years, fought for equality; what I could say civil rights for folks who are suffering with mental illness and addiction,” Wellstone said.
This act and Hunsley’s efforts to bring education about addiction and mental illness to the Rochester area are making a lasting impact on the city of Rochester.
City leaders have officially declared September as national recovery month.