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Mental illness affects the lives of tens of millions of Americans. Conditions like depression and anxiety deserve the same attention from medical professionals as other health disorders receive. Mental health disorders are equally as deadly as cancer or other terminal illness. What’s more, mental illness often accompanies alcohol and substance use disorders. 


We write about the cross-section of mental and behavioral health disorders often on our blog. Most people living with addiction also struggle with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Even men and women with a robust program of recovery fall victim to the symptoms of mental illness. 


Working a program gives individuals the tools for living with life on life’s terms, but some will need assistance in other ways. Those seeking treatment must be completely honest with their clinicians about their persistent thoughts and feelings. It may be that specialized therapies and medications are required to address a co-occurring mental illness. 


Long-term recovery is only possible when addiction and co-occurring mental illness are addressed simultaneously. Ignoring the symptoms of a mental health disorder will eventually lead to complications. An untreated dual diagnosis is often the catalyst for relapse. 


While Mental Illness Awareness Week is over, raising awareness about mental health is a year-long cause. It’s critical that men and women feel comfortable talking about their struggles with others. Breaking down the stigma of mental illness empowers people to reach out for help when life becomes unmanageable. 


Mental Illness Hotline


mental illness

One in five Americans lives with a mental illness each year. More than half of people with alcohol and substance use disorder also meet the criteria for co-occurring mental illness. One in three people who commit suicide has alcohol in their system. Symptoms of mental illness are experienced by 90 percent of people who take their own lives. 


If you are in recovery, and also manage a co-occurring mental illness, hopefully, you have someone you can talk to about your difficulties. Maybe you have a therapist or psychiatrist, or perhaps you can speak about your challenges with your sponsor. The point is that it’s vital you have someone in your life you can talk to on a regular basis. 


There are times when one’s mental health disorder becomes untenable. If that happens, people are prone to contemplate suicide. Fortunately, a hotline people can call for support exists; those experiencing a mental health or suicidal crisis are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. By calling the hotline, one is directed to a local crisis center for support. 


People who call the hotline will find an empathetic person at the other end of the line. Such individuals will be directed to local resources that can be helpful. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be a lifesaver for men and women having an episode. Unlike 911, however, 1-800-273-TALK might be hard for some people to remember. 


“When you’re in crisis and you’re already emotionally upset, the hardest thing to do is find the number that’s a 10-digit number and call it,” said Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.



NPR reports that a bipartisan bill to create a three-digit number for mental health emergencies has been signed into law. By July 2022, individuals struggling with mental illness will be able to call 988 to access mental health care resources and services. 988 was chosen as the new lifeline phone number by the Federal Communications Commission. 


“A national three-digit number will make it far easier for millions of Americans to reach out for help and get immediate connection to care when they’re experiencing a mental health or suicidal crisis,” says Kimberly Williams, president and CEO of the organization that manages the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “Most importantly, 988 will help save lives.” 


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Center


Men and women who seek help from Hope By The Sea are screened for symptoms of a dual diagnosis like PTSD, anxiety, or depression. We understand that successful treatment outcomes depend upon treating the whole patient. Please contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and services.