Elizabeth Romero, Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Delaware Health and Social Services, discussed her office’s work in finding solutions to the state’s drug and alcohol issues, mostly by addressing the underlying mental health conditions. We talked about Delaware’s situation, located on a drug corridor with its deep pockets of poverty and not enough behavioral health resources. She spoke about trauma, especially childhood trauma that can lead to mental health problems and self-medicating later in life. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can include hunger, abuse and violence in the neighborhood. Children with ACEs are less likely to succeed in school and have poorer social skills, a cycle that leads to depression, unemployment, domestic violence and more.
We discussed the prevalence of mental health issues, including ‘the baby blues’ and seasonal depression and talked about the stigma, the greatest wall to seeking help, and the programming and education the state offers to overcome the problem.
Ms Romero spoke on the treatment options within the state and the better outcomes when treatment is close to an existing support system or family, she described the Treatment and referral Program and three ‘bridge clinics’ – one per county. She discussed treatment options following the Right Person’ approach, what works for one, may not be best for another. Some need medicine assisted treatment, some in-patient, others can deal with out-patient providers. She discussed START, focusing on the point where you engage with people to begin their recovery process, and their partnerships with law enforcement, emergency rooms and groups such as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, where families can obtain peer counseling.
For 24/7 help call 800-652-2929 in New castle County, 800-345-6785 in Kent and Sussex. For resources and support go to HELPISHEREDE.com