The Pace of Guidance: How Do I Recharge & Reconnect After a Natural Disaster?

As people receive the COVID-19 vaccination and cases across the country are in steady decline, daily life is looking more like before the pandemic hit in March of last year. But we know through research and experience that the mental health impact of natural disasters such as the pandemic long outlast the physical impact, and due to the longevity and intensity of COVID-19, experts say we may be dealing with the aftermath for years to come. In this episode of our podcast, Healing Choices: Conversations on Addiction & Recovery, Mel Taylor and Lori Fiester discuss how natural disasters affect us, and how we can help those struggling with substance use and other mental health disorders in the wake of COVID-19 and other disasters.

The Importance of Treating Substance Use & Mental Health Disorders Together, with Dr. Kimberly Parks

This fall, The Council launched the Center for Co-Occurring Disorders, a groundbreaking initiative designed to address substance use and mental health issues together.

Substance use and mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimating that about half of those who experience a substance use disorder will experience a mental illness during their lives and vice versa.

Despite the well-established link between these conditions, many treatment providers cannot or do not address substance use and mental health together, which leads to increased costs, duplication of services, and – most importantly – poorer outcomes overall. The Council launched our Center for Co-Occurring Disorders to respond to this critical challenge.

In this episode of Healing Choices, we will explore the connection between substance use and mental health, as well as the challenges and benefits of treating these conditions together. Plus, we’ll explore this history of substance use and mental health treatment in Houston – and how for 75 years, The Council has played a role in advancing care, research, and training around these life-changing conditions.

How Do We Address the Mental Health Needs of the Veteran Community?

Thirty percent of active and reserve duty military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have a mental health condition. Less than half of these veterans will receive the help they need. Why do so many veterans struggle with substance use and other mental health conditions? Why do so few get treatment?

In the newest episode of our official podcast, Healing Choices: Conversations on Addiction & Recovery, Lori Fiester meets virtually with David Sunday and Viola Chavez to discuss how we’re addressing the mental health needs of the veteran community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Connection Between Trauma & Addiction, with John O’Neill

Lori invites John O’Neill of The Menninger Clinic to discuss the connection between trauma, PTSD, and substance abuse. With the whirlwind of shocking events occurring in the world, from COVID-19, to the economic collapse, to the repeated acts of police brutality and ensuing protests, we’re already seeing an increase in trauma cases across our community. Lori and John explain why that is, and how we can help those experiencing trauma.

Coping & Self-Care: How Do I Take Care of My Mental Health During COVID-19?

In this episode of Healing Choices: Conversations on Addiction and Recovery, President and CEO Mel Taylor and Clinical Director of the Center for Recovering Families Lori Fiester meet virtually to discuss how to best take care of your mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic and social isolation. They also discuss resources that are available to you if you need professional help.

This episode was originally recorded for The Council on Recovery’s new video conversation series, Conversations on Addiction, Recovery, & Family, and adapted for Healing Choices. Weekly video conversations with our clinician staff occur every Tuesday at 4 PM CST on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Mindfulness: Strengthening the Relationship Between Mind and Body

Here at The Council on Recovery, we believe in the power of mindfulness to aide us in difficult times. Mindfulness is the act of developing awareness of how we think and process information. We do this through focusing on the moment at hand and letting stillness and silence guide our emotions. 

If we’ve taught ourselves or been taught to numb our feelings in response to emotional situations, with substance abuse or other behaviors, we are not allowing ourselves the opportunity to understand our mind and body fully. We get to a potentially dangerous state in which we only know what we think and not what we feel.

Just being still for a few minutes every day and getting into a mental headspace in which you allow yourself to process emotions you’ve been potentially withholding can be mentally rejuvenating for anyone in this chaotic world. Every day now we’re overwhelmed with potentially traumatizing information, and lots of it. If it’s not the barrage of information that’s getting to us, it’s social isolation, changing the way we do our work, and more. Taking a step back and processing this information without judgement gives us a better chance at inner peace when it would otherwise seem impossible.

In this podcast episode, we discuss how to deal with negative emotions through mindfulness. At the time of this recording, COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, had just reached the United States. Since then, the virus has become a global pandemic and shaken up daily life, causing uncertainty and anxiety for many people. People who already experience a mental health disorder, including many people in recovery can be especially affected.

Caitlin Payne joins Mel Taylor and Lori Fiester to discuss in detail what mindfulness is and how it can improve your life during times of stress and uncertainty, whether or not you are impacted by addiction.