Victims of mental illness and substance abuse can find a glimmer of hope

In 2011, 19.3 million people aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, but did not receive treatment at a specialty facility in the past year. Untreated mental and substance use disorders lead to more deaths than traffic accidents, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer combined. Even more shocking, one in four adults suffer from a mental illness in a given year according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Cooper County has seen the wrath of substance abuse and mental illness and what it can do to a person, family and a community. Just in 2011, there were 175 people who were hospitalized in Cooper County for a substance abuse or mental illness according to the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
Although it is clear that substance abuse and mental illness is a problem in our community, there is hope on the way. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA'S) has issued Randolph County Caring Community Partnership, Inc. a three year grant for the Client Access and Services Exchange (CASE) project, which will include Cooper County. This (CASE) project is a person-centered Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) project that is designed to increase clients' motivation for sustained engagement with treatment providers. This project is designed to initiate services during the pre-treatment phase and to sustain clients engagement throughout the continuation of care.
People who are uninsured, and underserved aged 18 and older, and who lack access to treatment will be provided with treatment for free. The counties who will have access to this project our Randolph, Saline, Pettis, Lafayette, Boone and Cooper counties.
Carmen Jones, a Certified Criminal Justice Professional who has served 20 plus years in the substance abuse and mental health arena has been assigned to work as Site Coordinator/Case Manager for the (CASE) project in the Cooper County area. Jones is working closely with Site Project Manager to get this off the ground and running.
"I do believe that this is an added service to our community in becoming healthier. People don't want to be sick. This service will provide access to having the choice to get better,” said Jones.
Many people who suffer from substance abuse or mental illness may not have the resources to get better let alone the money, so they lose hope. Jones explains that she has seen this far too many times.
"While in the waiting hope will (may) get lost. What this means is that we can began to believe that all is going to get better or be better when the choice is made to do what it takes to have this.
I am making reference when our quality of life has been interrupted by unhealthy choices that has affected self and others. Sometimes its much easier to give up than let the process of change take its course. The fact that this project is free, is hopefully a motivator,” said Jones.
Most treatment facilities have a waiting list due to lack of funding and financial resources. Since the (CASE) project is free, it will provide treatment options based on a referral program without the fear of being on a waiting list.
Scientific research shows that treatment can help patients addicted to drugs stop using, avoid relapse, and successfully recover their lives. Approximately 80 percent of patients with depressive disorders improve significantly with treatment and recovery support services.
Jones is working with leading agency professionals in our area to see how they can help the (CASE) Project who will be meeting on March 25th at State Fair Community College to discuss further initiatives in the (CASE) project. There is no start date as of yet for the (CASE) Project.