The journey through recovery can be challenging for those battling addiction or mental health which is why leaders in Columbiana County want to offer as many resources as possible.

The 21st annual Columbiana County Recovery conference was held Friday to celebrate achievements in recovery but also stressing the help that is available for those struggling with addiction or mental illness.

"We get together once a year and just celebrate how far they've come," says Jennifer Whitman, the Director of Outreach and Community Relations for the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. "We have plenty of workshops that they have been able to take part in today. We've discussed things like recovery from domestic violence, finding your happiness, learning to forgive yourself. We've also had some health-related workshops such as diabetes and nutrition."

The conference also emphasized the need for peer supporters, people who have been through recovery and are willing to help someone else who is struggling.

"It's really important to get out the word of what peer supporters and individuals in mental health and in recovery, how they can help each other," says Beth Knack, Peer and Employment Services Manager for Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services. "There is a desperate need right now across the state for workers in this field so it is really important work that is happening. To hear someone go through what they have to go through and come out at the end of it talking very positive and helping others walk through that is just unbelievable and just amazing."

The mission of the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is changing lives through care, prevention and recovery. They say they have had as many as two to three thousand people come through the system in a year.

"I think one of the biggest things we try to instill is hope," says Marcy Patton, Executive Director of Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. "We really want people to know there is hope and really you are never too far gone. We have seen people who have had really serious problems as a result of their mental health or their substance use who have been able to really turn their lives around."

If nothing else, the board just wants people to know that if they need support, it is available and recovery will be a process.

"You're not alone," Whitman says. "It's ok to feel not ok and that recovery is a process and you might take a few steps forward and then take a couple of steps back and you just have to stick with that process and you will get to where you need to be."

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or is in recovery, you can call 2-1-1 through the Help Network or call the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board at 330-424-0195. You can also go to their website here. For Mahoning County, click here. For Trumbull County, click here. For Mercer County, click here