Gateway Carbondale’s Executive Director Shares Concern Regarding Suicide Rates in Southern Illinois

Suicide is a Growing Concern

In the wake of recent suicides in Southern Illinois, especially Franklin and Williamson counties we realize our communities are not alone.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicide in the U.S. is the highest it has been in 25 years. It is among the top ten causes of death in the U.S., and the only cause within the top ten that has increased.[1]

Some researchers believe an important contributing factor to this rise is the surge in the abuse of prescription painkillers. Others point to our improved ability to manage health conditions, yet still inferior inability to manage mental health.[2]

Suicide and Substance Abuse Are Often Related

Many people are unaware of the high correlation between suicide and substance abuse. According to Psychologytoday.com, 45 percent of patients with untreated substance abuse disorders commit suicide. It is suicide and substance abuse, drug abusealso telling that 24 percent of suicide victims in the United States are legally drunk when they commit suicide.[3] At the Gateway center in Carbondale these statistics seem on target – we work with individuals whose use of drugs and alcohol have contributed to negative life factors that may become so severe as to lead to suicide.

Did you know it’s not uncommon for people to have a mental health issue that exists in tandem with their drug use? At Gateway, we see a high level of depression alongside of addictions, particularly with alcohol. Such situations can become cyclical where, as the depression or anxiety becomes increasingly severe, the person tries to manage it with more alcohol, opiates or other substances.

When treating individuals who manifest signs of having mental health and substance abuse issues (known as having co-occurring disorders), a multi-pronged, individualized approach to intervention is recommended. Otherwise, the risk of either or both disorders reoccurring is much higher.

Taking Action

The topic of suicide is not one that is generally talked about and most people don’t understand it or its connection to mental illness and substance abuse. Fortunately, progress is being made in the realm of scientific research towards potential interventions, medications and psychotherapies targeted specifically at reducing suicide.[4] Efforts such as these, combined with national awareness-raising efforts and those throughout southern Illinois, provide hope that members of our community may find the ability to address suicide in more meaningful ways.

We are saddened by the tragedy of the suicides that have occurred over the past several months, and would like to remind our community that Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Carbondale is available to provide information and support. We encourage you to take advantage of our no-cost resources such as free consultations, online resources and a family guide.

If you or someone you love are experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety or other issues that may become overwhelming, know that help is available via suicide hotlines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If drugs or alcohol are also involved, please don’t hesitate to call Gateway’s 24-hour hotline 877-505 HOPE (4673).

Lori Dammermann
Executive Director
Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Carbondale

[1] http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2014/10/08/us-suicides-hit-highest-rate-in-25-years

[2] Ibid.

[3] DrugFree.org

[4] http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2015/03/suicide-insel

Gateway Names Thomas Britton as New President and CEO

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Chicago-based Gateway Foundation, Inc. announces today that its Board of Directors named Dr. Thomas P. Britton as the company’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 13, 2015. Britton, (45) replaces outgoing President and CEO Michael J. Darcy (66), whose retirement was announced in July 2014.

“From the start, we knew finding a replacement for a CEO who had demonstrated exemplary leadership for three decades would not be an easy task,” says Glenn Baer Huebner, Chair of the Board, Gateway Foundation. “Our search was intense yet ultimately gave us the privilege of meeting a number of exceptionally talented individuals. In the end, the board concluded that Dr. Britton is the best person to propel Gateway’s strategic growth and maintain our strong reputation for delivering quality addiction treatment services in a variety of settings, thanks to his requisite drive, clinical expertise and demonstrated business acumen,” adds Huebner. Read More>

Confident in the board of director’s choice, current CEO Michael J. Darcy retiring on June 30, 2015, states, “I look forward to assisting Tom in making a successful transition into his role with Gateway. I’m confident his skillset and commitment to the field of addiction treatment will further the mission and strategic plans of Gateway Foundation.”

Read More> 

For more information about Gateway Foundation, visit RecoverGateway.org.

Tips for Getting Addiction Treatment Covered by Health Insurance

heatlhcare addiction treatmentGateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment urges Illinois residents—even if denied health benefits for alcohol or drug rehab in the past—to check their current healthcare plan to determine if substance abuse treatment is covered by insurance. Now that federal parity laws, Illinois Parity, and The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have all taken effect, many health plans include the same coverage benefits for treatment of mental health/substance use disorders (MH/SUD) as they do for general medical and surgical treatment.

“There are thousands of Illinois residents who need care for addiction issues and now more than ever they have access to treatment through their health insurance. Our goal is to help people understand their treatment options and their insurance benefits” says Michael Darcy, President & CEO, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

Here are the top five tips Gateway provides to those seeking coverage for drug or alcohol rehab their health
plans:

1. Know Your Illinois Parity Rights: In the state of Illinois, unless an insurance plan is exempt, large employer plans are required in each calendar year to cover the following for substance use disorders:

2Understand What Insurance Plans Must Follow Federal Parity Laws:

  • Health plans sponsored by private and public sector employers with 51 or more employees including self-insured and fully insured arrangements.
  • All insurance plans sold inside and outside the state exchanges, which are available to individuals and smaller companies with 50 or fewer employees.
  • Some state and local government health plans.

3. Understand What Health Insurance Plans Do Not Have to Follow Federal Parity Laws:

  • Medicare
  • Individual plans not purchased through the health insurance marketplaces
  • Group plans with 50 or fewer employees.
  • Plans who received an exemption based on increase of costs related to parity.

4. Look for a Reputable Treatment Center: Substance Abuse Treatment is a specialty service and it’s important your Financial Counselor is an accomplished expert who can work on your behalf to gain the most from your insurance coverage.

5. Don’t Take No for an Initial Denial: If your health plan meets the criteria of state and federal parity, it’s important to realize an initial denial does not always mean no coverage is available. Knowledgeable Financial counselors may be able to obtain insurance coverage for treatment by exploring different avenues with your insurance company.

“Substance use is a treatable healthcare disorder – and people should know it is covered by insurance, similar to diabetes, hypertension and cancer.” says Michael Darcy.

To learn more about treatment options or insurance coverage for treatment related to alcohol or drug abuse, call Gateway at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Is That an Elephant in Your Exam Room?: How to Talk to Patients About Substance Abuse Treatment

As a health care professional, your role is to collaborate with patients in regards to their state of health and wellness. Together, you search for clues and evidence to either identify or rule out potential health risks and discuss strategies to enhance wellness. Understanding your patients’ lifestyles as well as details about how they manage stressors, such as career, home, family or personal set-backs, is customary during an annual health check-up. But are you adequately addressing the elephant in the exam room?

“Let’s face it talking to patients about substance abuse can be tricky. Whether real or perceived, there are disincentives for doctors to talk with their patients about substance abuse, including time constraints and our society’s aversion to awkward encounters,” says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment. “Yet, skipping the topic entirely is a huge disservice to your patients who depend on you to help keep them healthy.”

Bear in mind, there are plenty of myths about substance abuse and drug rehab that actually perpetuate avoidant behavior from patients who need help remaining sober, including:

  • A person can’t be forced into treatment, and has to have the desire to change for treatment to be work.
  • Addiction treatment didn’t work in the past, so there’s no point in trying again.
  • Overcoming addiction is merely a matter of willpower. People can choose to stop using drugs if they really want to change their lives for the better.

Help Inspire Self-Directed Change in Others

To overcome misperception as well as the societal stigma of substance abuse with your patients’, it’s important to motivational interviewing, substance abuse, gateway alcohol & Drug treatment centersset a positive tone from right off the bat. Simply advising patients to change if a problem is revealed often is unrewarding and ineffective. That’s why Gateway recommends using techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to promote self-directed change. In fact, a recent meta-analysis* of 72 studies found that MI outperformed traditional medical advice-giving in 80% of the studies.

To clarify, Motivational Interviewing is an open-ended, non-confrontational approach for interacting with persons who are unsure, uncommitted or ambivalent about changing. The spirit of MI, which is prioritized over technique, includes partnership, acceptance, compassion and evocation…or P.A.C.E.:

  • Partnership refers to collaborating with patients on their journey of exploration and decision-making.
  • Acceptance involves acknowledging and respecting patients’ inherent worth or ability within and as ultimate decision makers.
  • Compassion involves demonstrating commitment and behavior supportive of patients’ best interests.
  • Evocation encompasses the use of reflections, open-ended questions and non-judgmental exploration to facilitate exchanges in which patients elicit their concerns and reasons for change.

Trying to impose motivation upon patients makes it less likely they will change. Rather, it’s the role of the patient to make needed changes in MI; and your responsibility as a physician is to educate and empower your patients to make well-informed decisions that satisfy their own personal health needs.

If you know someone that could benefit from a free, confidential substance abuse consultation, encourage them to call 800-971-HOPE, or visit RecoverGateway.org.

*US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15826439

Addiction Treatment Expert Presents at 15th Annual Interdisciplinary Nephrology Conference

dr john larson, gateway alcohol and drug treatment, medication assisted treatmentOn Friday, October 24, 2014, addiction treatment expert, Dr. Larson (Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers) presented, “Recent Advances in Medication Assisted Treatment of Addiction” at the 15th Annual Interdisciplinary Nephrology Conference. The conference was hosted by the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois in partnership with the Illinois Council of Nephrology Nurses and Technicians (ICNNT), the Illinois Council on Renal Nutrition (ICRN) and the Illinois Council of Nephrology Social Workers (ICNSW).

Mara Lidacis, Director of Community Health Education of National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, stated “We thank Dr. Larson for presenting to the social workers. From what I heard, the presentation was very well received. I know they appreciated having him share his expertise.”

Learn More:

Todd Bridges, Star of “Diff’rent Strokes,” Inspires Residents of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield

Gateway alcohol and drug treatment springfield, Todd Bridges, different strokes, Addiction Treatment

Jan Ruby, Outreach Coordinator, Gateway Springfield; Dana Schanholtzer, Midwest DNA and Drug Testing; Todd Bridges; Kerry Henry, Executive Director, Gateway Springfield

Former child actor, Todd Bridges, provided inspiration and substance abuse recovery guidance to the residents of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment  in Springfield, IL on Friday, September 19, 2014. Bridges was a long time child actor on the television show, Diff’rent Strokes, and remains active in various movies and television shows today.

Bridges discussed his personal struggle with drug addiction and the damaging effects it has had on his life. During his presentation, Bridges elaborated on his various substance abuse treatment episodes and what it finally took for him to get his life back on track. He shared with adults in the audience the importance of working on themselves; and encouraged those with children to remember the impact drug addiction has on the entire family.  Bridges also encouraged  teens in attendance to make better choices with their young lives; pointing out  they risk losing their freedom, families and possibly their lives. Bridges sprinkled his presentation with humor and laughter and encouraged questions from the substance abuse treatment facility residents.

Remaining gracious and humble, Bridges demonstrated a real life example of how to overcome addiction by meeting life on life’s terms; one day at a time.  Gateway Treatment Centers would like to thank Mr. Todd Bridges for sharing his story.

 

Gateway Provides Addiction Treatment Resources at Recovery Walk Celebrating National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month, Gateway Treatment Centers, GAteway Alcohol & Drug TreatmentIn celebration of National Recovery Month, the Governors State University Addictions Studies Alumni Club sponsored their third annual Walk for Recovery on Saturday, September 20, 2014 in University Park, Illinois. Each year, this walk honors individuals recovering or seeking recovery and celebrates the treatment providers committed to helping them.

This free community event featured a two to three mile walk, an addiction treatment resource fair, and guest speakers, Peter Palanca, Executive Vice President and COO of  Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC, Inc.), Mark Sanders, CEO, On the Mark Consulting, and Comedian Jay Washington.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers participated in the resource fair providing valuable addiction treatment information including our What’s a Parent to Do? Resource guide that helps parents understand the complexities surrounding adolescent drug and alcohol use. Download our free Parent Guide or view other addiction treatment resources at RecoverGateway.org/Resources.

May 2014: Gateway Treatment Centers Offers Two Free CEU Webinars

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers will offer a Lunchtime Learning Series in May featuring two complimentary webinars:

  • Altered States: Marijuana, the Brain and Legalization
    May 15, 2014
  • Understanding Mindfulness-Based Sobriety *New! CEUs available: IAODAPCA & Psychology
    May 21, 2014

ALTERED STATES: MARIJUANA, THE BRAIN AND LEGALIZATION
MAY 15, 2014: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. (Plus Additional time for Q&A)

1 CEU – NAADAC, Illinois: LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

About the Training
From board rooms to family rooms, marijuana legalization continues to be a hot topic. This is largely due to rapidly changing attitudes toward marijuana in the United States. In fact, the majority of American adults (55%) now support legalization of marijuana.*

As the taboo surrounding marijuana appears to dissipate, the webinar will serve as an important reminder regarding the health repercussions and legal implications associated with marijuana.

What You Will Learn

  • Short-term effects marijuana abuse has on the body and brain.
  • Long-term physical and social implications of abuse.
  • Why long-term users find it hard to quit.
  • Legal changes concerning medical and recreational marijuana.

Training provides: 1 CEU NAADAC, Illinois: LCSW, LSW, LCPC,
LPC, Nursing

Cost: FREE with Registration

free ceu webinar gateway treatment centers

Meet the Trainers

gateway treatment centersDr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Centers

With more than 40 years of professional experience in the addiction and behavioral health fields, Dr. John Larson oversees medical practices at Gateway’s network of treatment centers.

KAren WEbinar imageKaren Wolownik Albert, LCSW
Program Director
Gateway Lake Villa

Karen has been a member of the clinical team at the Gateway Treatment Center in Lake Villa since 2010. She leads efforts related to the quality of care and program development for the Adult Men’s and Women’s Residential Programs and the Young Men’s Residential Bridge Program.

 

UNDERSTANDING MINDFULNESS-BASED SOBRIETY
MAY 21, 2014: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. (Plus Additional time for Q&A)

About the Training
The goal of this webinar is to increase understanding of mindfulness and its use in substance abuse treatment programs.

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. The practice is highly effective in treating emotion dysregulation, stress, depression, grief and impulsivity—all of which are at risk of fueling addiction .

What You Will Learn

  • The basics of mindfulness practice.
  • The history and development of the Mindfulness-Based Therapy model.
  • How Gateway’s unique approach to mindful sobriety integrates Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Relapse Prevention Therapy.

Training provides: 1 CEU IAODAPCA, NAADAC, Illinois: Psychology, LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

Cost: FREE with Registration

webinar 2 registration

 

 

 

 

Meet The Trainers

phil welches gateway treatment centersDr. Phil Welches
Clinical Director
Gateway Treatment Centers

A licensed clinical psychologist, Gateway Clinical Director Dr. Phil Welches joined Gateway Foundation in 2003 and directs clinical services at all 10 Gateway Treatment Centers.

nick turner gateway treatment centersNick Turner, MSW, LCSW, CADC
Clinical Supervisor
Gateway Foundation Chicago River North

Nick Turner is a Clinical Supervisor that specializes in providing individual and group counseling for those with substance abuse and mental health needs.

Gateway Foundation Relocates Rehab Center to St. Louis Metro East

st. louis rehabFor residents in the St. Louis Metro East area who need help for substance abuse and addiction issues, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment has moved its rehab center from Belleville to Swansea, IL. Gateway Foundation Swansea officially opened on Sept. 4, 2013, and provides counseling and therapy to help adults and teens struggling with alcohol and drug abuse.

Whether traveling by car or public transit, the new treatment center is conveniently located near Interstate 64 at 1 Bronze Pointe, a professional office park with plenty of free parking and accessible to Metro and bus lines stops.

“Being close to downtown St. Louis and St. Clair Square makes it easier for more people to experience the quality treatment for which Gateway Foundation is known,” says William Stoner, Executive Director, Gateway Foundation Swansea. “And, to help individuals going through withdrawal from alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs or heroin, we have an on-site psychiatrist certified in the use of medication assisted treatment to complement one’s addiction counseling and therapy.”

st. louis rehabTreatment programs for adults and teens are personalized to account for one’s drug use history, environment, withdrawal issues, lifestyle and co-occurring stress and mental health concerns. Gateway Foundation’s collaborative approach encourages empowerment through improved awareness and self-discovery. Treatment professionals assist individuals with exploring one’s values, setting goals, preparing for setbacks, developing a sobriety plan and building supports. Outpatient treatment also includes: substance abuse education, group counseling utilizing evidence-based relapse prevention, individual therapy and family engagement.

Gateway Foundation Swansea offers outpatient treatment services in the morning and evening, Monday through Friday. Members of the community are welcome to visit the new St. Louis metro rehab center and meet the clinical team at an open house on Oct. 17, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Gateway Foundation’s Courshon Dedicated to Alleviate Addiction

Honored by Illinois Alcoholism & Drug Dependence Association

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment, announces today John Courshon received the prestigious Keith Keesy Memorial Award at the 46th Annual Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) Fall Conference in Lisle, IL, on Sept. 5, 2013. Named after a pioneer in alcohol and drug addiction treatment, the Keith Keesy Memorial Award is a celebration of the vital role dedicated professionals like Mr. Courshon play in recovery.

gateway foundation

Left to Right: Bruce Suardini, CEO of The Prairie Center, Kim Fornero, Bureau Chief of Illinois Division of Mental Health (DMH), Dr. Theodora Binion, Director of Illinois DASA and Acting Director of Illinois DMH, John Courshon, Director of Quality Management and Accreditation

“John Courshon truly exemplifies the spirit and intent of the Keith Keesy Memorial Award. Throughout his 41-year career, he has consistently demonstrated his deep personal commitment to ensure people who need treatment for substance use disorders receive the best care possible and the post-treatment support needed for lasting recovery,” explains Michael Darcy, President & CEO, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

As Director of Accreditation and Quality Improvement for Gateway Foundation, Mr. Courshon’s commitment to enhancing the quality of treatment and support for substance use disorders is evident in his numerous contributions to addiction recovery, including:

  • Establishment of withdrawal and detoxification protocols to help individuals with mild to moderate dependency to alcohol or drugs like heroin, prescription pain killers (opioids) and benzodiazepines, remain sober and successfully complete treatment.
  • Introduction of The Recovery Support Project, a post-treatment program that offers adults and adolescents support through recovery groups and social events and outings to promote fellowship, which is organized, funded and hosted by Gateway Foundation’s network of treatment centers in Illinois and the St. Louis metro area.

The results of Mr. Courshon’s efforts have resulted in greater engagement by and retention of adults and adolescents in treatment for substance abuse at Gateway Foundation’s treatment centers. Additionally, more than 2,000 adults and adolescents who completed treatment at Gateway Foundation treatment centers in Illinois annually attend group meetings and sober events in support of their ongoing recovery.

“I’m fortunate to have a career that affords me the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the many people we treat as well as their loved ones,” says Mr. Courshon. “While addiction is a disease, it is treatable and manageable. At Gateway Foundation, we know how important it is to help people understand the underlying reasons for their substance abuse, learn healthy coping skills, follow a recovery plan and extend lifelong support.”

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