According to the Foundations Recovery Network (FRN), the stigma associated with substance abuse and mental health disorders creates a significant barrier to individuals and families seeking help. Through Heroes in Recovery, the organization has held 6K races across the United States since 2011.
The purpose of the races is to raise awareness and eliminate the social stigma that keeps people with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 million people needed substance abuse treatment in 2015 and did not receive it. Ten million did not receive needed mental health care, according to the Heroes in Recovery website. Because only three million seek treatment, FRN’s goal is to reach the other 20 million. The Heroes website shares stories of recovery for encouragement and inspiration.
The race events focus awareness, but they also raise funds for local addiction treatment and recovery organizations like Step One, Inc., an Arizona non-profit established in 2000 that offers a 90-day treatment program.
In December, FRN held its second Arizona Heroes 6K that attracted 481 registrants — 67 percent growth over the first race in 2015. The race donated $2,000 to Step One, which helped buy a 15-passenger van, according to Kayla Starr, community impact coordinator for the organization.
There are races in Memphis, Tenn., in May and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in June. The races offer cash prizes for race winners in various divisions totaling $1,500. Each race has a non-profit charity beneficiary.