Congressman Tom Reed focused on May being Mental Health Awareness month, saying the silos between mental health and substance use treatment must be eliminated.
Reed said the mental health and substance abuse crisis is real, “It’s becoming a larger and larger problem across America. And we need to reduce the stigma for people to reach out, especially with May as mental health awareness month, to reach out and not be afraid. And it’s a sign of strength, not weakness when you reach out for help when you deal with mental health and substance abuse.”
Reed said mental illness can affect anyone, saying his father died by suicide when Reed was just two years old, “…dealing with PTSD issues and so it hit my life from day one, from the day I was two years old. And I would hope that his death could serve as an awakening for so many. It served as an awakening for me in regards to recognizing the issues that I faced as a result of that and primarily other items in dealing with mental health issues and substance abuse.”
Reed said the division between mental health and substance use treatment has been long standing and makes no sense, “By our laws, by our policy prevent substance abuse providers to see those who are in mental health crisis, to cross through those silos, and make it next to impossible for mental health providers and substance abuse treatment to be linked together in one seamless type of healthcare system when it comes to these issues.”
Reed added that despite this, people who need help should still reach out as there are tremendous resources available.
If you are facing a mental health and/or substance use disorder, you can reach out 24/7 to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or online at https://www.samhsa.gov/