The mother who founded the Facebook community “An Addict’s Mom” to give a forum of support rather than shame to parents with children battling the disease of addiction, has lost her son prematurely. Barbara Theodosiou’s son began receiving mental health care at age twelve. By age thirteen, he was using drugs.
“It shocks me. It crushes me. It steals my soul,” she said. “There are no breaks, no holidays, there is no solace here. And I spend every second wishing I had one more moment, one more day with my son before drugs.”
But despite her grief — and perhaps because of it, she is more determined than ever to make sure that Daniel’s life was not lived in vain.
She is now committed to telling his story and raising awareness to help people dealing with both mental illness and substance abuse and pushing for reforms in schools and prisons to make sure they get the treatment they need.
The numbers don’t lie — mental illness and substance abuse often overlap.
Nearly 9 million people have co-occurring disorders, meaning they have both a mental and substance abuse disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.
But only 7% of them get treatment for both conditions, with a staggering 56% receiving no treatment at all, the agency says.
Ms. Theodosiou’s point is that a system that doesn’t address the co-occurring disorders of mental illness and substance abuse combined with the disconnect between mental health care and jurisprudence, is a system that needs fixing. To read the full CNN article with compelling video content, click here.