Talking to your kids about substance use

October 24th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan 1 comment »

Talking with your children about substance use is not a five minute discussion and it’s not a one-time thing. Success is about keeping the conversation going. We’re all busy, but the more you talk to your kids about substance use, the more comfortable they’ll be talking to you about the subject.

If you find the right time to talk to your kids, it will have more impact. Some windows of opportunity to talk about substance use include:

  • When there is a school assembly about underage drinking.
  • Your teen is invited to a “big” party.
  • When an adult has had too much to drink.
  • After hearing a news story about alcohol-related accidents.
  • While watching a TV show where teens get in trouble with alcohol.

Take advantage of these moments to talk about the risks and effects of drug and alcohol use and make sure your teen stays safe and sober.

To learn more about this topic and also how to help a young person who may be developing a mental health challenge, try one of our mental health first aid courses available throughout the State:

Take the Prevention Pledge!

October 21st, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Commit yourself to prevention by taking the Prevention Pledge and share it with anyone interested in supporting healthy communities.

Work to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and encourage family and friends to do the same!

Here are a few ideas for how you can be part of prevention:

For more information and resources, go to:

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

October 19th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Walk for Mental Illness at Capitol Grounds

October 14th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Put on your green this year and hit the road!

Join the 2014 NAMIWalks Valley Walk on October 18 at the Arizona State Capitol Grounds.  Register online HERE.  OR BETTER YET, JOIN OUR STIGMA STOMPERS TEAM!  It’s free and for the whole family!

Substance Use in America

October 10th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan 3 comments »

Substance use has a huge impact on the health and well-being of our nation:

  • Roughly 10 million people between 12 and 20 report drinking alcohol during the past month. That’s more people than live in the state of Michigan.
  • About 23 million Americans use illicit drugs. That’s the number of people that live in Australia.
  • Marijuana use and non-medical use of prescription medications are the most common types of drug use in America.
  • Almost 18 million Americans have a problem with alcohol dependence or abuse.

Stopping substance abuse before it begins can increase a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.

Don’t become a statistic!  Don’t let your loved ones become one either!  Take the pledge and talk prevention during this October (Substance Abuse Prevention Month).

Early identification and treatment key to recovery

October 8th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan 2 comments »

A mental illness is a medical condition that often makes it hard to cope with the demands of ordinary life. It can affect:

  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Mood
  • Ability to relate to others
  • Daily functioning

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Early identification and treatment is a key to effective control of an illness and recovery. But, only a third of all adults and less than half of children with mental illness receive treatment.  The reasons include not recognizing symptoms, lack of access to care, and stigma.

During MIAW, everyone should learn the symptoms of mental illness. Fact sheets and information about specific diagnoses and treatment options are available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness at or from its HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264.

No one should have to confront mental illness alone. Know where to find help in case it is ever needed.

Check out this video where Yashi Rebbie and Stacy speak out for the ‘You Are Not Alone’ Campaign for NAMI!

Go Green!

October 5th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) you can help shine a light on mental illness in your home, online or in your community. This year the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is coordinating with hundreds of people, landmarks and organizations across the country to get everyone to “go green.”

The action will include buildings and landmarks across the country lighting up green to show support and raise awareness for mental health. The green light is meant to start a conversation and inspire hope.

To make your own statement, you could:

  • Wear green. Be creative; wear green shoelaces, a green suit, dye your hair green or paint your fingernails.
  • Initiate a “Wear Green Day.” Encourage your workplace and friends to pick a day during the month to wear green to spread the word about Mental Illness Awareness Week.
  • Learn about new research, advances in treatments and coping strategies for living with mental illness and share what you find out with your family and friends.
  • Participate in a NAMIWalk—and wear green!
  • Check out the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Facebook page
  • Turn your Facebook or Twitter profile green to support MIAW

Oct. 5-11 is Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 3rd, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Anyone could experience a mental health challenge – mental illness is more common that often thought of.  In fact, one in four adults experience some type of mental illness in any given year.

In 1990, Congress designated the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week to focus attention on mental health issues and treatment.

Join us wearing a green ribbon this week to show your support for those struggling with a mental illness!


Celebrating Peer Support During Recovery Month

September 30th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Recovery from mental or substance use disorders doesn’t happen alone.  Peers are an important part of the recovery process.  A peer is someone that shares the same experience.


A person that has recovered or is working on recovering from a mental or substance use disorder can offer firsthand knowledge and understanding.  Their experiences can be a guide on the road to recovery.  They can also help with someone who wants to start or continue recovery.


Some of the important things that peer support provides are:


  • Emotional support – showing empathy, caring and concern
  • Informational support – help finding information and in learning new skills
  • Instrumental support – help filling out forms, with child care or transportation
  • Affiliation support – help building positive relationships


A peer can help set goals, solve problems, access resources, and build social networks.  They offer positive reassurance and provide a feeling of belonging and community. Peer-operated supports and services provide important resources to assist in recovery and wellness.

I’d like to end this year’s 25th anniversary of Recovery Month with a big Thank You to all Peer Support Specialists giving your best each day to help a peer!

Recovery IS Possible!

September 29th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

Most people with mental health problems or substance abuse issues can get better. Recovery is a process of change.  In recovery a person works to improve health and wellness, lead a self-directed life and reach their full potential.

There are four important areas to work on in recovery:

  • Health: Manage your condition or symptoms and make good choices for your mental and physical health. For example, don’t use alcohol or drugs if you have a substance use disorder.
  • Home: Have a stable and safe place to live
  • Purpose: Have something to do every day, such as a job or school, volunteering, caring for your family, or being creative.
  • Community: Build relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love and hope.

With help, people with mental or substance use disorders do improve.  They have fewer or no symptoms and are able to manage their issue. Research shows that treatment success rates for many mental disorders are as high as 90 percent.  Treatment for substance use disorders also has positive results.  Treatment can help with stopping substance use and avoiding relapse.

Treatment and recovery are ongoing processes that happen over time. But in order to recover, you have to take the first step, get help.

Learn more at