Inspired by last year’s “A Dose of Reality,” which began the conversation about the opioid epidemic in Greenville County; we took up the mantle to learn more about substance abuse and the growing fight against the stigma of mental illness through our internships at the Phoenix Center and Mental Health America of Greenville County.
Together we are facilitating a partnership between our respective organizations to make these hard-hitting topics easily digestible for Greenville County.
Drug abuse, simply put, is a mental illness. When an individual suffers from addiction as a result of a pre-existing or co-occurring mental illness, receiving effective treatment becomes increasingly difficult. As of December 2018, studies conducted by organizations such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse have shown that of the 8.2 million adults who struggle with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse, only 48.1 percent received treatment for either their mental health disorder or their addiction. Among individuals with non-alcohol substance use disorders, 28 percent had co-occurring anxiety disorders, 26 percent had mood disorders, 18 percent had antisocial personality disorder, and 7 percent suffered from schizophrenia. These statistics apply to adults worldwide – including many of the 500,000 men and women residing in Greenville County.
“A Dose of Reality: What Every Parent Should Know About Opioids in the Greenville Community,” led by Sophie Finnell, then a senior at Greenville Tech Charter High School, was held last year. In 2019, “A Dose of Reality: A Joint Effort to Understand Mental Health and Substance Abuse” is a continuation of the work in educating Greenville County on its substance abuse epidemic. It’s led by GTCHS seniors seeking to further educate Greenville about issues lurking beneath a façade created by stigma and a lack of earnest knowledge.
“A Dose of Reality: A Joint Effort to Understand Mental Health and Substance Abuse” will be held from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 28 at Greenville Technical College’s Barton campus in the TRC Auditorium (Bldg. 102). The two-hour event is designed to engage participants in a holistic discussion as the event delves into the hidden causes behind substance abuse disorders and how they correlate with mental health. Representatives from Mental Health America, the Phoenix Center, Hope for Families: Recovery Center, Vice and Narcotics, and Bon Secours St. Francis will address the issues that mask the truth about these seemingly unrelated fields. There will be an open question-and-answer panel at the end of the night.
Before the event, a community fair will feature a variety of organizations that address current issues facing Greenville County, including Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR), Teens4Hope, United Way, the Family Effect, GHS Police Drop Box, and Just Plain Killers.
Jadin Beek, a senior at Greenville Tech Charter High School, is an intern at the Phoenix Center. Haley Schmidt, also a GTCHS senior, is an intern at Mental Health America.
Read or Share this story: https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/opinion/2019/02/27/opinion-dose-reality-mental-health-substance-abuse/2989115002/