A Plan of Action for COD (co-occurring disorders*): The Harris Project
*mental health challenges plus and substance misuse or addiction
What comes first: substance use or mental health challenges? It can happen either way.
Adolescence is a time of change and challenge. It is also during this time that most mental health disorders arise. In fact, 22% of teens 13-18 have a diagnosable mental health and/or addictive disorders, and 50% of all cases of mental health disorders arise by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24 (MHFA.org).
We 3 Moms have been there. We share our family story in books and in this podcast, to help others.
Our guest has the same mission - to turn heartache into action, and to honor her son. She was recently featured in the NY times, and she’s here with us today.
Stephanie Marquesano, mom of Harris (who died at age 19 and had a COD, or co-occuring disorder), is founder and president of the project named for him - with a mission to change the way these two conditions are noticed and treated.
- Tell us about Harris. If you had to tell the story of his life before the illness and after the illness in five minutes what would you want us most to know?
- Early signs: you said in NY times “He was crawling out of his own skin half the time.” - is there anything you wish you had known, anything you wish someone else had known or done?
- Can you share your journey to find psychological and psychiatric help?
- The combination of substance abuse and mental illness often co-occurs, and yet… not treated together . Talk to us about the “addiction treatment nonsystem” and what should replace it.
CODA goals include:
- Increased awareness and understanding of co-occurring disorders for youth.
- Increased early intervention for mental health challenges and substance misuse leading to a decline in incidence of youth mental health crises, drug misuse, addiction and overdose.
- Increased likelihood that those already impacted by co-occurring disorders will seek help and support.
- Raise a generation without the stigma typically associated with mental health challenges/substance misuse.
- Encourage youth to positively impact their peers/communities by building connections to each other and being a link to resources.
Mindy and her book: https://mindygreiling.com/
Randye and her book: https://benbehindhisvoices.com/
Miriam and her book: https://www.miriam-feldman.com/
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Miriam (Mimi) Feldman