I just did a tour with Liz Means from A Way Out, which is a nonprofit based out of Colorado that provides counseling referrals, financial aid to motivated alcoholics and their families, and things of the like. Ironically, I had just read an article that caught my attention that was right up her alley.
The article talked about how there are numerous “barriers to treatment” lately. The everyday person might not realize the issues that are going on with treatment just yet, but I am sure everyone will be in the know soon enough.
Within this story, they talked about how treatment is expensive, how many insurance companies cannot cover long-term residential stays, and so much more. There are wait lists for a number of different facilities, because there just aren’t enough beds available to manage the amount of people that are trying to enter into treatment.
It can be easy to think, ‘well that’s good, that must mean more people are going to treatment’, but there’s another side to the coin. Currently, more funding is being put into cancer than into the treatment of mental health, and while this is understandable, mental health is just as important of an issue. Unfortunately, mental healthcare is often met with stigma that suppresses its progression.
In my opinion, it’s almost like society is choosing to be blind to these issues rather than see them for what they are truly worth. It is very frustrating to me, especially because I feel like how many more people need to die or struggle for the right, effective changes to be made? Point blank – addiction is a disease, just as is cancer. It requires specific attention and care that can only be found in one of these facilities with a wait list.
If you are reading this right now, chances are you know someone who has a substance abuse problem or an addiction. It is that common, but the conversation about it is not. When I sat down with Liz Means after our tour, it was so refreshing to hear her express her drive to provide the right resources to those who need it, and do it in a way that doesn’t empty wallets or shut people out. We share a similar vision, and talking with people like her keeps me hopeful of the future.
At Northbound, we are proud of our unique program, especially because it helps us to never have to be in a situation where we are turning people away. We have adopted a model of the 12-Steps, meetings, accountability in a place where there is an abundance of staff and activities that fit our client demographic. All of this helps keep us affordable and accessible, which to me, is one of the most important ways to help those who desperately need it.