Why Peer Support is Playing a Growing Role in Addiction Recovery

Deana Kilpatrick smoked crack for the first time when she was 13 years old. “From there,” she says, “I really just spiraled down hill.”

For the next 30 years, drugs and alcohol were part of her life. Then last November, at the age of 43, she moved to Branson, Missouri looking for a new start. It was going pretty well until loneliness drove her to relapse a few months ago. She got a fourth DWI and faced up to four years in jail.

Continue reading or listening to this story here. 

World Mental Health Day-October 10th

World Mental Health Day is always celebrated on October 10th, it was first created in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health and this year is the day’s 26th anniversary! The idea behind the day is to inform and raise awareness about different mental conditions and to help people find support and understand more about mental health. In some countries, it is part of a Mental Health Week. The day often has different societies and communities offering services, letting people know about treatment and support. The World Health Organization picks a mental health issue to focus on every year; this year the focus is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.”

Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension, however. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness.

The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows. Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters, and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.

Did You Know

  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, communities, races, and religions
  • Depression affects 350 million people worldwide
  • Only 10% of people with depression seek out help
  • 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental health or neurological (brain) issue in their lives
  • About half of mental disorders begin before people reach age 14
  • War and major disasters increase the rate of depression in a country

Be a hero on #WorldMentalHealthDay by doing one of the following: Upload a photo wearing a green ribbon, draw a ribbon on your face, hand, arm for a selfie and upload, or take a picture of something green for social media #NotAllHeroesWearCapes










Health Care Update, September 2018

Washington State Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch tells us about her visit to Olympic Community Health, the Healthier Washington rural health care transformation, Spokane’s Medicaid Transformation public forum, and HCA’s plans for fall.

Stable housing and employment set foundation for success

The Foundational Community Supports (FCS) program is a lifeline to a happier and more stable life, connecting community health services and Medicaid clients to housing and employers to help individuals find and maintain jobs, obtain stable, independent housing, and gain the necessary skills to be successful.


Should Mental Health Education be part of a High School Curriculum?

Students returning to school this fall in Virginia and New York will be required to participate in mental-health education as part of their health and physical education courses. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law in March that requires a mental health curriculum for 9th and 10th graders.

A similar bill was signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in September 2016 and became effective on July 1, 2018. The first-of-its-kind law requires schools to address mental health in health education programs for students in grades K-12, but, unlike Virginia, does not tie that to a specific set of mental health standards.

“Unrecognized, untreated, and late-treated mental illness elevates the risk of mental health crises such as suicide and self-injury. Early treatment enhances the potential for recovery and also diminishes negative coping behaviors such as substance abuse,” Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association in New York State, said in a press release. “Empowering young people with knowledge will have a powerful impact in helping them protect and preserve mental health and wellness for themselves and their peers.”

Some of the guidelines from the advisory council in New York include:

  • Mental health as part of overall health and wellness
  • Identifying mental health problems early on
  • Removing the stigma surrounding mental health and the discrimination against people who suffer from mental health problems
  • Places to find appropriate help and support

Other states have responded to the increase in mental illness rates with increased funding for school counseling and training teachers to recognize the symptoms of mental illness in order to better refer students to mental health resources.