YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. October 10 is also known as World Mental Health Day. Experts say that sometimes, these two issues can be linked.
Director Brianne Gayhart joined the Hannah’s House program on February 1, 2017. It is a healing and treatment program.
“My mental health diagnosis came alongside my drug use. Before I came to Hannah’s house, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety for which I was taking psych meds,” Gayhart said.
Gayhart says substance abuse changed the chemicals in her brain, which affected her mental health. In other cases, mental health struggles are the cause of substance abuse.
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did mental health come first or did addiction come first? We see it walking hand in hand,” she said.
Gayhart says that throughout her addiction, she experienced domestic violence.
“When you’re in a domestic violence situation with someone beating you mentally and physically, it takes a real toll. You start to believe the lies they tell you,” she said.
Jennifer Varley Gray is a social services and development officer. She says domestic violence goes hand in hand with mental health struggles.
“They have a higher risk of suicide, a higher risk of depression, anxiety. Certainly post-traumatic stress disorder. They may have pre-existing mental health issues that are compounded,” Varley Gray said.
Varley Gray says domestic violence costs the US $8.3 billion a year. There are approximately 8 million working days lost due to the complex needs associated with victims. She says if you are a victim, there is hope.
“Sometimes their spirit is broken and they have to learn, relearn how valuable they are. They need to know how worthy they are and that they can be freed from this abuse,” Varley Gray said.
“Sometimes the hardest thing to do is pick up the phone, but you have to know you’re not alone,” Gayhart said.
For more information on how you can get help, Click here. You can also visit the Hannah’s House website or call 330-609-5683. Compass Family and Community Service website it is also a great resource.
Leave a Reply