Aesclepius Medical Society, Inc.
1424 Flatbush Avenue, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11210
American Association of Christian Counselors
P.O. Box 739 Forest, VA 24551
Black Psychiatrists of Greater NY & Associates
c/o United Social Services, Inc.
2 West 64th Street, #505
New York, NY 10023
Full Circle Health
2429 East Tremont Ave
Bronx, NY 10461
Haitian American Psychiatric Association
National Alliance on Mental Illness
3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203-1701
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
St. Vincent’s Services
66 Boerum Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201
The Recovery Village
LIFE AND DEATH AND THE THINGS IN BETWEEN: Published in September of 2017, It is a collection of 10 short stories that span over 20 years focusing on my patients, family and my personal struggles with faith in God. It is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. There is also a Kindle/e-Book version.Below is a 46 second You Tube video trailer about the book that anyone can access via clicking this link.
The Link Between Suicide and Substance Abuse: How to Help a Loved One
For the millions of Americans who are living with a substance abuse disorder, thoughts of suicide can be common, in part because of dual conditions such as anxiety and depression. The link between these conditions is often strong, and unfortunately, they can come with symptoms that mimic one another, making each condition difficult to diagnose by itself. Substance abuse often masks or numbs the feelings of pain and discomfort that can come with these issues, but it doesn’t solve the problem and instead adds to it.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do if you suspect a loved one has a substance abuse problem or is having suicidal thoughts. Letting them know that you care and are there to listen is the best way to begin; often, individuals who have turned to substances feel very alone and believe they have no one on their side. Keep reading for tips on how to help a loved one who is struggling.
Know the Symptoms
While it can be tricky to suss out the symptoms of a substance abuse disorder — especially when the individual also has anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder — it’s important to look for certain clues that will help you understand what they’re going through. Common symptoms that occur both with depression/suicidal thoughts and substance abuse include severe changes in sleeping and eating habits, a decline in personal hygiene, sudden problems at work or at school, legal issues, and mood swings, which may or may not become violent. If your loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms, let them know you’re there to listen. If they appear violent and you believe they are a danger to themselves or others, call for help immediately and try to get them to a safe place, away from weapons or items they could use for self-harm.
Understand the Diagnosis and Treatment Options
It’s imperative that you understand what your loved one is going through as much as possible. You may not agree with their lifestyle, but knowing what they are facing will help you be empathetic. If they have already sought treatment, talk to them about their diagnosis and do some research on what it means. A dual diagnosis is common for individuals who are living with substance abuse; this means they have co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety and an eating disorder together. You can learn more about a dual diagnosis here.
Many individuals who are battling substance abuse or a mental health disorder find it very difficult to reach out for help; often, they are ashamed of their actions, or they are afraid of being judged negatively. One of the best things you can do is let your loved one know that you’re listening without judgment. Refrain from using blame words or making them feel guilty; instead, simply let them talk about their feelings. Sometimes, this is the best way to help them find the path to recovery.
Help Them Find Options
For so many people who are living with these disorders, life can feel overwhelming, and the thought of getting treatment can be scary simply because they don’t know what their options are. Help your loved one find the right treatment option for their needs, and let them know that they will only get better if they want to.
Trying to help a loved one who has thoughts of self-harm can be frightening and stressful, so remember to take care of yourself and your own mental health. Talk to a doctor if you feel sadness that won’t go away or have changes in your sleep habits, as these could be signs of depression.
Melissa Howard ⎸firstname.lastname@example.org