TRMC seminar to bridge addiction, mental health gap

Published 9:19 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

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The connections between addiction and mental health, as well as the resources available to help treat those issues, are the topic of an upcoming lunch-and-learn sessions sponsored by Troy Regional Medical Center.

“Bridging the Gap Between Addiction and Mental Health” is the first of a new quarterly series of programs aimed at improving an understanding of mental health issues facing Pike County and of the resources available locally to treat those issues.

It takes place from noon to 1 p.m. March 3 at The Studio.

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“These meetings stem from an enhanced care project we’re doing in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama,” said Amy Minor, chief clinical officers at Troy Regional Medical Center.

“While the sessions are geared toward health care providers, they are also open to the general public.”

Speakers for the program will be Paul Dulaney, M.D., an addiction medicine specialist, and Kerri Outlaw, a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Both have extensive experience in the fields of addiction and mental health.

“Essentially in this session we will be making the connections between drug addiction and alcohol addiction and the underlying mental health issues,” Minor said. “The two oftentimes go hand-in-hand.”

The meeting will offer insight on how to identify mental health issues as well as outline resources available, such as the in-patient Journey Detox and Recovery program overseen by Dulaney or the services provided by East Central Mental Health.

Minor said organizers chose to start with addiction and mental health issues because addiction is such a widespread issue, nationally and locally. “We can go back to the opioid crisis and consider the number of people addicted to opioids, as well as other prescription drugs,” Minor said. “And of course, we have issues with street drugs and alcohol as well …

“Our overall goal is to expand the community’s understanding of what resources are here and how to get patients the right kind of help.”

Upcoming quarterly sessions will focus on adolescent mental health issues; helping educate first responders about how to respond to individuals with a mental health crisis; and suicide and suicide prevention.

Anyone interested in attending the March 3 session should call Karen Herring at (3340) 670-5487. There is no charge to attend, and one contact hour of continuing education will be provided for nurses, social workers and respiratory therapists.

Minor also said anyone with issues about addiction also can call the hospital’s confidential intake line  at 334-670-5281.