World Mental Health Day 2020 and Substance Use Disorder


October 10 is World Mental Health Day.  Designated by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) in 1992, this day is used to raise awareness of mental health around the globe. The WFMH is an international non-governmental organization (NGO).  Its goals are:

  • To raise public awareness about the importance of mental health, gain understanding, and improve attitudes about mental disorders.
  • To promote mental health and prevent mental disorders.
  • To improve the care, treatment, and recovery of people with mental disorders.

Mental Health Day 2020’s theme is Mental Health for All, Greater Investment and Greater Access.  We are seeing an emphasis on Mental Health for All as more and more people come forward to talk about mental health.  From celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Prince William, his mother Princess Diana, and Brandon Marshall to everyday mental health heroes bravely sharing their lives on social media we have more forums to hear about illness and recovery.

Covid-19 and Co-Occurring Disorders

Now, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the globe we are seeing more individuals and families struggle with mental health.  Pre-pandemic, there were approximately 450 million people who live with mental disorders across the globe.  In the US alone in 2017 there were about 46.6 million adults, one in five, living with a mental health disorder.  Four million people struggled with a dual diagnosis or substance use disorder and mental illness; this means that one in four adults with a mental illness also has a substance-related disorder.

People often ask what causes mental illness and substance use?  Why do people have both?  Research has shown there are some common risk factors:


As we learn more about genes and the role they play in development, there have been links found to influence whether a drug makes one feel good.

Environmental factors

Stress and trauma may cause genetic changes that are inherited and may be passed down through generations, contributing to the development of mental illnesses or substance use disorders.

Mental illnesses

Undiagnosed mental illness can lead an individual to use drugs and/or alcohol to self-treat or self-medicate.  This is dangerous as some substances will make mental illness worse.

Substance Use

Substances can change the brain, leaving a person at risk of developing a mental illness.

Access to Mental Health Services

For people with co-occurring disorders, the pandemic has been especially difficult.  Access to therapy, psychiatry, and even 12-step meetings has changed.  Most of these services have gone on-line or have been using telehealth, others are operating with reduced hours and strict safety protocols, all of which can be overwhelming for an individual.  People have skipped or delayed care and there has been a self-reported 4% increase in those with existing conditions seeing a decline in their well-being.  This is not a time to be alone or delay treatment.   Our evidenced-based programs can help.

Covid-19 and Co-occurring disorders

At Dignity Healing, your physical well-being in important to us.  Upon admission, all clients are screened for the coronavirus (Covid-19) through testing.  Clients who test positive for the virus are quarantined and provided high-quality medical care.

We are a leader in treating co-occurring disorders.  Our team of trained professionals will help diagnose and treat a range of conditions:

  • Mood-Related Disorders
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Major depression
    • Dysthymia
  • Anxiety-Related Disorders
    • Panic disorder
    • Social anxiety
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Generalized anxiety disorder
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Severe Mental Illness
    • Schizoaffective disorder
    • Schizophrenia

We utilize evidence-based practices and treatment comprising an individualized evaluation and diagnosis, treatment plan, medical detox if needed, group and individual therapy, family therapy, and aftercare support and/or sober living.  Call us now for an evaluation.  We are here and look forward to helping you recover.

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