Addiction and substance misuse pose a safety risk at work. A personal story.

by Leslie Hanson

“Your mom isn’t answering the phone.  I’m worried about her.  Can you check on her?”  Immediately following this text, my cell phone rang with a familiar phone number. It was my mother’s cousin, Laurie. I knew why she was calling.  Cousin Laurie spoke with my mother daily and routinely called me when she could not be reached.  

Over the years, I came to address these calls with diminished urgency as experience taught me my mother was either ignoring the calls or incapacitated by her addiction to opioids. Cousin Laurie had designated herself as my mother’s keeper … Read more...

Dear mother. You cannot reduce me.

by Jeannette, daughter of a narcissist and a psychologically abusive mother

You may see the title of this and think that it’s an attack…it’s not. It’s an opportunity for us to grow together and teach future generations to break the cycle-the cycle of narcissism. Restore empathy and unconditional love.

I am the child that so desperately wanted and needed your love. I needed you to show me my self-worth, and teach me how to maintain boundaries in order to survive this sometimes cruel and bitter world. You didn’t…

I am able to extend the empathy and unconditional love that … Read more...

THC warning labels where marijuana is legalized can help curb a homeless crisis

by Heidi Anderson-Swan

California’s SB 1097, warns about the mental health risks of high potency THC

Denver on the unofficial stoner holiday April 20, 2021

California’s SB 1097 seeks to mandate warning labels on all marijuana products, with special warnings on high THC content.

The warnings would include the increased risk for mental illness. Recently, Colorado led the nation to become the first state to mandate stronger warnings on the high potency marijuana concentrates to its consumers.

It is a matter of public health, and human decency, that California consumers as well as other citizens of states where marijuana has … Read more...

Reflections of losing my twin brother to overdose

By Jill Cichowicz

When my mom asked me to read the reflection at Scott’s funeral, I thought to myself, “How can I sum up a relationship and a bond that I shared with him for 38 years in 3-5 minutes?”

Reflections from Scott’s Memorial Service

Luckily, you all had the pleasure of knowing Scott as well, he was obnoxiously obsessed with the Chicago Bears, could sell anything to anyone, argue about anything to anyone that would debate him, and had a charming way about him as well as dashing good looks.

They say you get in the biggest fights with … Read more...

Confessions of a stressed-out teacher and what I’m doing about it

4 Tips for Managing Teacher Burnout and Stress

by Tammy Ozolins

Ms. Oz, middle school health and PE teacher

I know other educators can agree with me when I say I surely did not learn how to manage my own mental health as a teacher when I was going to college to prepare myself for education (as far as teaching virtually, and hybrid and in the pandemic). I teach Middle School and I have now been teaching for about 17 years. Last year and this year by far has been the toughest yet.

We always have had duties, but this … Read more...

THC, young minds, and suicide

by Bart Bright

Bart, his wife, his now-deceased son, Kevin

My son, Kevin, died by suicide on August 14, 2018. He was 29.

The last articulate words I heard him speak were, “Cannabis has ruined my life.” He suffered many episodes of Cannabis Induced Psychosis, a diagnosis in the DSM-5. Over the last two years, I have communicated with hundreds of parents whose children have suffered from Cannabis Induced Psychosis.

In Colorado in 2017, marijuana was present in the blood of 32% of suicides, ages 15 to 19 according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. My friend … Read more...

A life worth living    

by Emily Sherman

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide that life was meaningless. It took years of feeling hopeless.

Growing up, I was in countless hospitals, treatment centers, and group homes

I could not stay in the community for longer than three months. I became institutionalized and was in the mindset that life was nothing but white walls, a mattress, and forcible injections. My life felt as though it was not worth living.

I had the diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder and receiving the diagnosis made me feel validated, but also like I was untreatable. My suicidal thoughts … Read more...

Transforming pain after your child dies

by Tamara Harvey Braswell

When my 19-year-old son Logan died in a car crash more than five years ago, I soon became engulfed in a new relationship called Grief.  I capitalize the word because I consider Grief more than a word.  Grief is a gut puncher, water-filled lungs, blinding head banging pain that holds a person hostage.

That’s how Grief feels at first.  I am talking about traumatic Grief – the kind of Grief that drowns a parent in sorrow and despair when he or she loses a child, whether the death be from a sudden cause, such as an … Read more...

Confessions of a chronic suicidal thinker

by Heather Pate

Heather Pate is on the right

I struggled with Self-Injury and Suicidal Ideation (aka Suicidal Thinking) from the ages of 15-18. I would call myself a Chronic Suicidal Thinker. I spent a lot of time coming up with plans. There was a lot going on at home and had some stuff I was struggling with from earlier in my life. I thought what I was struggling with was something I did wrong. I didn’t want to get in more trouble.  

My family

See, my father blamed and shamed me about something earlier in life, and now looking … Read more...

Learning From Loss

by Dave Maddox

Chris and Dave from left to right

When my friend Chris ended his life in 2021, like all his family and friends, I was stunned. He was the last guy I would have thought could have done this. Upbeat, optimistic, with a ridiculous sense of humor, time spent with Chris always left me worn out from laughing. It also always left me feeling better about myself. That was his special gift: he was genuinely interested in everyone he met and could make everyone he knew feel smarter, stronger, braver, and better looking.

Our friendship was forged years … Read more...