It pains me to have to write this, however something needs to change. As the world is changing and people are struggling more with addiction, trauma, and mental health issues, the people who are here to help us are falling short, due to no fault of their own and a lack of training in trauma informed care and communication. I understand this doesn’t help their bottom line. But it will save lives, people are dying!
Let me explain, I woke up this morning to a message from a friend of mine. A mutual friend of ours, took his own life in Philadelphia a few nights ago. He was in his late 30’s. What could have been so bad that he felt this was his only option? He struggled with substance abuse disorder. He was caught with drugs and thankfully they recommended him for treatment for a lesser sentence. However, the problem came when he got out of treatment. He was told if he didn’t give up the people higher then him, he was going to get 15 to 20 years in prison. He couldn’t live with the idea of that, especially just getting clean. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met, he struggled with his mental health due to drug use. He did not deserve to die.
What he needed was someone to help him. Why couldn’t he give up anyone else? Because his life would be in danger. His life was in danger either way. I don’t know too many people who could live with those odds. This feels like such a manipulation on weak people who are in need of help, not prison and threats. And who will answer for this? If we accidentally hit someone with a car its murder. If we threaten someone and then they kill themselves, it should be treated the same.
He needed a way out, a system in place to protect people who want to get out of this kind of lifestyle, not further trapping him and threats.
His nervous system was just coming off of drugs and was already highly aroused- as is everyone’s when they get clean. To pressure someone just coming off of drugs is the worst thing you can do to someone facing this. There is a way we can offer people help. But not with threats and not with prison. People need to be treated with kindness and understanding. Who will be answering for this, and how can we prevent this from happening to others?
Government officials need trauma informed training. It is very clear there is none or there is something missing. How is this any different then bullying? Why are we allowing this to happen? Why does anyone think its ok to prey and manipulate the weak? When someone is coming off of drugs their nervous system is highly aroused, so basically, they are already in fight or flight mode. So any little thing that happens will set them off and push them to their edge. We can make a positive difference in our society if we handle situations like this the correct way. This starts with how we are treating the people we are trying to help. Fear based ruling does not work. Fear does not help people. Compassion and understanding will though. I propose that all state and government officials must get trauma informed training and must take a trauma class every year. I am developing a class in trauma informed care and communication for government officials that I think will greatly benefit our society.
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If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma, addiction, or mental health please make an appointment or message me through the website for help. You are not alone.