Addiction and/or mental unrest may be difficult to overcome, but anyone experiencing them should know they do not need to work through it alone. The Substance Use Disorder and Behavioral Health teams through St. Lawrence Health (SLH) provide expert care and numerous programs to assist people in getting the help they need.
September is both National Recovery Month and National Suicide Prevention Month and SLH offers inpatient and outpatient programs and care opportunities throughout St. Lawrence County.
The process of recovering from an addiction is unique to every individual, and each patient the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) team works with is treated in a very personalized manner.
“At each level of care, our team’s goal and mission is to meet our patients where they are on their journey to recovery. We support them in defining their own recovery, and what they believe they need to live a happy and healthy quality of life,” stated Director of SUD Services Emily Marquart. “Our comprehensive services offer patients the opportunity to start or continue their recovery journey at whatever point they need.”
SLH offers medically managed inpatient detoxification services at Gouverneur Hospital and Massena Hospital, inpatient rehabilitation in Potsdam, and numerous outpatient services in Gouverneur and Potsdam.
“For some, recovery is maintaining a life free from addictive substances. For others, they may be seeking to reduce or eliminate the use of some substances from their lives,” Ms. Marquart said. “Recovery is a dynamic concept and our team recognizes the meaning of recovery evolves for most patients as they grow, face challenges, and hopefully experience healing, which in turn requires different treatment options and supports during their recovery.”
The SUD team works closely with each patient to determine the best support network to be involved in their recovery, and they work collaboratively to provide education, resources, and review the dynamics that may no longer be healthy for them to include in their recovery process.
“It is clear from our work with the patients we serve that connection is vital to recovery. One of the strongest indicators of patient success in our treatment programs is the ability of the clinician to build a trusting, therapeutic rapport with patients. This relationship is often times the foundation for the patient to then develop the skills necessary to build healthy relationships in their personal lives, and provides the connection to living a meaningful and fulfilled life,” Ms. Marquart stated.
“The path to treatment and recovery looks different for all patients, but the common thread for all of them is an openness for change. Our role within all areas of our services is to create a safe, supportive, and therapeutic space to allow our patients to explore their readiness for change and provide hope to our patients that change is possible,” she added.
It is essential for patients to feel supported when they experience set-backs or challenges in their recovery goals. A slip-up does not mean they should give up.
“Sobriety is possible for all patients, but the components for sustained sobriety look different for every patient,” Ms. Marquart said. “Our team strives to create a culture at each level of care where our patients feel comfortable reaching out for help and know they will be provided with the support and resources to move forward with their recovery goals.”
Whether it’s an individual battling with addiction, or someone struggling with another area of their life, one of the most important things for them to remember is that help is a mere phone call away. Mental health services are available in an office setting or on-line interventions, through a hotline, calling 911 or 988, or by going to the Emergency Department.
“Mental health concerns have increased significantly since the pandemic, with more individuals seeking services. It is important to know help is available and mental health providers are here and ready to listen to their concerns and provide effective interventions to improve their emotional functioning.,” commented Director of Outpatient Psychiatric Services Laurie Zweifel, PhD.
Suicide rates continue to rise, with rural areas having twice the rate of deaths than urban counties. It is important for everyone to know the signs and how to seek help. Signs that family and friends can look for if they are worried about someone’s state of mind include noticeable changes in eating or sleeping habits, withdrawal or isolation, unexplained change in behavior and/or personality, agitation, restlessness, distressed or panicked behavior, talking or writing about suicide (even jokingly), giving away possessions, saying good-byes, or a drop in school or job performance.
There is a new Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for anyone who has thoughts of suicide, substance use crisis, or emotional distress. Dialing 988 will connect the individual with a trained professional.
“Individuals thinking of suicide often feel hopeless and helpless in relation to significant stressors in their lives. They may think ending their life is the only way out,” Dr. Zweifel added. “Listening and validating their feelings, along with offering hope and support can save lives.”
Professional and confidential Behavioral Health services are provided through St. Lawrence Health in Gouverneur and Potsdam. Detailed information may be found on our website. The SLH Emotional Support line is 315.261.5395; the local REACHOUT number is 315.265.2422; and the National Suicide Hotline is 800.273.8255.
Information on SLH’s Substance Use Disorder services may be found on our website.
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