By Guy Page
In recent years Vermont has seen huge increases in both suicide and opiate overdoses.
In 2021, suicides in Vermont totaled 142, a 30-year high. Vermont experienced 210 opioid overdose deaths last year, the highest in state history. Through April 2022, 61 Vermonters have died of overdoses – just under the pace of 2021.
In some families, these two tragedies are connected. Like a highway pile-up in which drivers die merely out of proximity to the initial crash, family members despondent with grief, guilt or other oppressive conditions may become a follow-on tragedy to an opiate overdose.
To help struggling families, Dr. Libby Stuyt and local mental health professionals and substance abuse recovery groups are working together to provide a weekend of healing for families traumatized by substance abuse.
The organizers are dedicating the conference to Patty, who lovingly cared for her family member with use disorder and schizophrenia for decades, before she was suddenly overcome with uncontrollable anxiety which deepened into an relenting depression. Sadly she succumbed to this suffering, drowning in the Winooski River in December 5 years ago. Patty’s family has donated to help bring Dr. Stuyt and the evidence-based coping tools she teaches to Vermonters, especially impacted families and the state’s first responders and providers.
The weekend schedule is as follows:
Helping Providers Help Families: Training mentors, coaches, teachers, therapists, first responders, clergy and administrators to support stressed families and/or families coping with a loved one’s substance use disorder. There are two chances to attend:
Teaching Evidence Based Techniques to Decrease Stress and Reduce Anxiety, Improve Sleep/Wellness for Families: One in three families have a loved one struggling with a use disorder. Pouring one’s life into helping a loved one suffering from a substance use disorder carries its own risks to one’s own physical, financial and mental health. Impacts can include anxiety, insomnia, and sometimes unrelenting depression. Learn evidence-based techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, and other emotional self-regulation techniques to swiftly de-escalate a difficult situation.
Categories: Community Events