A panel of experts will discuss the challenges of having both a mental health and substance use disorder during a forum called “Understanding Mental Wellness: Support at The Crossroads of a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder,” on Thursday, April 13, 2017. The event will be from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. in Holy Family Hospital – Methuen ground floor auditorium located at 70 East St. in Methuen, MA. A light dinner will be served.
This is the second English-speaking program in a series of free mental health community forums offered by the City of Lawrence Mayor’s Health Task Force (MHTF). Nearly 600 Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill residents have attended mental health forums in Spanish and English in the last three years.
Speakers for the April 13 forum include Lucia Kimball, Holy Family Hospital Program Director for Behavioral Health; Stephen Bibeau, RN, BSN, Holy Family Hospital Director of Emergency Services; and Jennifer Burns, MA, the Community Engagement Specialist from the C.A.R.E.S. Initiative of the Methuen Police Department.
Gina Currao, MS, LADCI, a Holy Family Hospital-Haverhill Substance Abuse Counselor, who has both a mental health and substance use disorder, often referred to as dual diagnosis, will discuss her successful personal and professional path. The forum moderator will be Holly Hammershoy, M. Ed, LMHC, Clinic Director of the Therapeutic Mentoring Program, and Clinical Supervisor of the Counseling Center, at Family Services of Merrimack Valley.
Information presented will include how to recognize the signs that indicate a person may be affected by both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, how to work with those who have these conditions in a medical setting, the role police and social workers are playing in care plans, and the story of a personal journey coping with mental health illness and substance use disorders.
A Community Health Need
Community health needs assessments conducted in 2015 and 2016 by Holy Family Hospital and Lawrence General Hospital respectively revealed that rates of emergency room visits where mental health and/or substance use disorder were the primary or associated causes are higher in Lawrence, Haverhill, and Methuen, than the state rate.
Specifically, according to state MassCHIP information for 2011/2012, communities maintaining high mental disorder hospitalizations per 100,000 people are Lawrence (6,119/7,131.15), Haverhill (6,546.89/7,012.71), Methuen (5,098.91/6,583.56), and Amesbury (5,744.82/5,334.87) with disorder hospitalizations figures higher than the state figures (5,255.38/5,673). Similarly, mental disorder-related hospitalizations figures for these same com¬munities are high with Lawrence (2,805.69/3,111.88), Haverhill (2,658.36/2,954.96), Methuen (2,240.65/2,394.48), and Amesbury (2,294.05/2,643.32) having figures each higher than the state’s averages (2,160.53/2,304.38). Andover and North Andover maintain the lowest reported cases for both mental health disorder hospitalizations and mental health disorder-related hospitalizations below the state’s averages.
Information published in June, 2015 in the Opioid Data Report covering Lawrence, Methuen, Andover, North Andover, and Haverhill, and authored by the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative (MOAPC) Merrimack Valley Cluster notes: “Lawrence has filed the most opioid related death certificates over the last 5 years (82) with the highest so far in 2014 (25) which an increase of 150% from 2010 to 2014. The total number for all towns has risen from 23 to 71, which is a 209% increase from 2010 to 2014. Data from North Andover are missing. The city/town with highest percent change over these same years is Andover (400%) then Haverhill (243%).” “…the total number of unintended opioid overdose deaths from 2000-2012 was 217 (Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Information, Statistics, Research, and Evaluation, April 2014). Lawrence had the most with 82 and Andover with the least with 10.” Haverhill has 71 unintended overdoses, Methuen has 37, and North Andover has 17 in the same time frame...”
Additionally, members of seven English and Spanish focus groups conducted by Holy Family Hospital in 2015 identified mental health, substance use disorders, and the intersection of these two conditions as major problems for which area residents are seeking more information, assistance with coping skills, and treatment.
About The City of Lawrence Mayor’s Health Task Force
The City of Lawrence Mayor’s Health Task Force (MHTF) is a broad-based coalition of health care and social service providers, environmental groups, academic institutions, businesses, and city planners whose mission is to improve the quality of life for local citizens by developing healthy activities and public policies. The MHTF serves as an advisory board to the Mayor of Lawrence. The MHTF’s Behavioral Health Working Group is made up of representatives from Holy Family Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, MA Dept. of Mental Health, Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, Northeast Recovery Learning Community, and several other local social service agencies helping residents cope with mental health issues.
About Holy Family Hospital
Holy Family Hospital is a 385-bed acute-care hospital with three campuses: Holy Family Hospital – Methuen, Holy Family Hospital- Haverhill and Andover Surgery Center. Both full-service hospital locations provide comprehensive inpatient, outpatient and 24/7 emergency services to the greater Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire. Holy Family Hospital is the proud recipient of the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission and is one of only 72 hospitals nationwide to earn straight A’s since 2012 from independent healthcare industry watchdog The Leapfrog Group, for performance on national standards of safety, quality and efficiency. Holy Family Hospital is the first hospital in Massachusetts to earn Advanced Certification in Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery by The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation. Holy Family Hospital is Nationally Recognized by BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts as a Blue Distinction Center® Plus for excellence in hip and knee replacements and as a Blue Distinction Center® for Spine Surgery. The hospital’s strengths include orthopedic care, cancer care, neurology/neurosurgery, general surgery, thoracic and pulmonary care, wound care and hyperbaric medicine, maternity care, and behavioral medicine. Holy Family Hospital is part of the Steward Health Care Systems LLC, the largest integrated community care organization in New England, which combines over 3,000 physicians, 10 hospital campuses, managed care, insurance programs, home care, an imaging operation, and a number of other post-acute services, to provide the most cost effective and highest quality of integrated patient care.