So right now, you are probably saying to yourself, “Circle of Caring Challenge? Huh? The last time I got challenged to something I had to dump a bucket of ice on my head. Is that what this is?” Well, kind of, but no need to give yourself a brain freeze for this challenge.
Earlier this morning at the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce’s Early Bird Breakfast, the Community Health Leadership Board kicked off the Circle of Caring challenge, a social media campaign to show how our community is united in surrounding and supporting people struggling with opioid use disorders in the greater Bangor region. The Circle of Caring focuses on raising public awareness by uniting those who are ready to take action against the opioid epidemic by educating all of us about what we can do for others and their families who might be fighting, seeking treatment or in recovery from opioid use disorder, and by generating financial support for education and immediate support for those in crisis.
You probably have questions.
Tell me who these CHLB people are.
CHLB is a collaborative partnership of hospitals, health-care providers and the city of Bangor that seeks to reduce stigma and increase understanding of substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery. Members are Penobscot Community Health Care, Eastern Maine Health Systems including Eastern Maine Medical Center and Acadia Hospital, St. Joseph Healthcare, Eastern Area Agency on Aging, Community Health and Counseling Services, Penquis, and the City of Bangor.
Why does the CHLB want me to be a part of this Circle of Caring Challenge?
To create a circle of support to surround and care for those suffering from opioid use disorders in the greater Bangor community. According to local law enforcement, just this past weekend, our community lost three members to overdoses.
The City of Brewer and PCHC staff members took the Circle of Caring Challenge.
What exactly do I have to do to participate? Even though it was for a good cause, I don’t want to dump ice over my head again.
I told you — no ice! This challenge is simple.
- Just make a circle. With your hands, with your friends and family, with your co-workers, with a paintbrush or pencil, with a rope, any creative idea you come up with, just make a circle.
- Take a picture or video of your circle.
- Share on social media with #caringcircle
- Consider making a donation as another way of showing your support.
- Join the Circle of Caring Facebook group.
- Challenge your family, friends or co-workers to participate.
What if I want to do more?
- Visit this blog, #HealthyRegion, written by local people and experts on addiction recovery. As part of the work of the CHLB, #HealthyRegion’s aim is to help reduce stigma around substance use disorders by sharing the stories of real people and providing information about the science and treatment of addiction.
- Ask the right questions. The “Choose Wisely” website aims to promote conversations between clinicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is free from harm and truly necessary. Click here to learn more about choosing medicines to relieve chronic pain.
- Words create stigma. Choose your words carefully. Focus on the person, not the disease, and above all, show respect and compassion for those suffering from opiate addiction. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always. Click here for an article on the importance of words.
- Write to your Maine House and Senate member, Write to Senator Susan Collins, Senator Angus King and Congressman Bruce Poliquin urging passage of legislation that will increase funding for programs that support those who are struggling with opiate use disorder.
- The Bangor Daily News held a community event a few weeks back called the One Life Project. Click here for 99 ideas put forward by the public to help end the opiate epidemic. If you know someone or an agency that’s pursuing the ideas listed, write it in the document. Or, include who could be working on each idea if they’re not already.
So, take the Circle of Caring challenge and help raise awareness and show support for those in our communities with opioid use disorders. Snag a #caringcircle selfie and post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Then, invite your friends to do so, too. Like I said, no brain freeze necessary for this challenge.