Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rosecrance Waukesha County Expands Substance Abuse Programs to Young Adults

Rosecrance Waukesha County will begin an Emerging Adult Program for 18 to 25 year olds struggling with substance use issues. The group will be held on Mondays from 5 to 8:30 pm and on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 pm, starting August 18.

Groups will focus on learning skills to live a healthy life, managing stress and building core values. Assessments are offered at no charge.

Rosecrance Waukesha County also offers programs for teenagers, including intensive outpatient and continuing care programs, prevention and early intervention services, and urine drug screens. Substance abuse awareness trainings also are available to families, professionals and community members.

The Rosecrance Waukesha County Office is located at N27 W23957 Paul Rd, Suite 101 in Pewaukee. For more information on Rosecrance services call 815.391.1000.

Click here for more information on Rosecrance Waukesha County.

May renewed commitment to help and hope be part of Robin Williams’ legacy

Rosecrance Chief Medical Officer Thomas Wright, M.D., reflected on the death and legacy of actor Robin Williams in a guest column published Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, in the Rockford Register Star.

Dr. Thomas Wright, Rosecrance Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Thomas Wright, Rosecrance Chief Medical Officer

For some reason, the death of actor Robin Williams by suicide hit harder than similar stories about other super celebrities who die too soon from suicide or other causes. The sad ending for this beloved public man felt more personal, somehow.

Maybe it’s because most of us are so familiar with Williams’ hilarious comedy antics, and we know that genius was one of a kind. Maybe it’s because he infused even his wackiest movie characters with likable humanity, from the wisecracking genie who just wants his freedom in “Aladdin” to the devoted dad who cross-dresses as a housekeeper to be close to his kids in “Mrs. Doubtfire.” The list of beloved characters is long.

Maybe it’s because he was so open about being a flawed human being.  He was candid about his battles with addiction and depression, and his humor about these serious conditions made the public able to listen and, maybe, learn something that could eventually lessen the stigma for others who struggle.

Part of the reason may be because we all know and care about someone who lives with addiction or mental illness, and we hope and pray for outcomes that are less tragic. That Williams couldn’t find treatment to save him makes me sad, and even, a little bit angry.

Depression and addiction are treatable illnesses, and science is making great strides toward medications, psychotherapies and other treatments that can help people live better and suffer less. These conditions affect millions of people on our planet, and we need more general education about both the illnesses and the treatments.

Here are some realities:

  • According to the National Institute for Mental Health, almost 7% of adults have experienced a major depression in the past year. It’s most common in women between 18 and 25, and Native Americans.
  • The prevalence of a mood problem in adolescence is almost twice as high as adults and highest among girls.
  • Depression is what most often leads to suicide, but, it’s not the only cause. People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder along with substance use disorders are also at very high risk.
  • Depression is treatable.  There is hope.  Common treatments include:
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
    • Psychodynamic Therapy or psychoanalysis. Obstacles may include expense and time commitment.
    • Medications. They may be effective, but many patients are resistant due to side effects.  Adolescents may be at increased risk of suicide.
    • Other treatments, including Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive (ECT — shock therapy) are non-medication options that may be used in severe cases with resistant symptoms.  TMS is more economical and has fewer side effects than ECT with similar effectiveness.
  • Successful suicide is most common among people in the 45-64 age group, among males and among Caucasians and Native Americans.
  • The suicide attempt rate is higher among women, but men are more likely to be successful.
  • Suicide is much more common in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) population than in the general population
  • Suicide is often a very impulsive behavior and is responsive to interventions.

The bottom line is that depression is a common illness among the population, and suicidal thoughts are common in people with depression. Depression and suicide are particularly linked with substance use disorders. Let us shine a light on those realities and, at the same time, broadcast far and wide that depression is treatable and can be individualized to the patient.

There is hope for even resistant depression with newer, less widely available treatments such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and with new uses for medications like ketamine.

People who struggle must not lose hope, but instead, reach out for help. Honestly share what you’re feeling with people who really listen and access the network of care that is available. Those of us who come in contact with people who have depression must not avoid the proverbial “elephant in the living room.” We need to ask the hard questions, listen to the answers and guide the person we care about to appropriate help.

Beyond Robin Williams’ amazing body of professional work, beyond the joy and pathos he brought to our lives over the years, may this be part of his legacy.

Thomas Wright, M.D, oversees all medical operations for Rosecrance. He is certified as a child and adolescent psychiatrist by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and in addiction medicine by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Wright specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. He joined Rosecrance in 2005.

Pleeztameecha event brings Chicago professionals together for networking, food & fun

LEFT TO RIGHT: Julie Seymour, Lisa Lindman, Tom Fahey, June Parks, Michael Parks

LEFT TO RIGHT: Julie Seymour, Lisa Lindman, Tom Fahey, June Parks, Michael Parks

On August 6, members of the Rosecrance Foundation Chicago Board hosted “Pleeztameecha,” an evening of networking at Howells & Hood on the Tribune Plaza. Guests enjoyed an opportunity to network, hear good music and learn about Rosecrance programs and services. The event attracted about 150 people.

Rosecrance Foundation Chicago Board Vice-Chair Dr. June Parks welcomed guests to the event. Rosecrance President/CEO Philip Eaton announced plans to establish a collegiate recovery residence for Chicago-area students.

Rosecrance already serves nearly 1,200 young adults between the ages of 18-25 annually through other levels of addiction care. As a result, Rosecrance is uniquely positioned to develop resources for these individuals and the larger collegiate community in Chicago.

Rosecrance’s vision is to provide a collegiate recovery residence and integrated behavioral health clinic at a strategic location in Chicago to support a drug-free environment and recovery principles for young adults.

If you are interested in donating to the Rosecrance Foundation, click here for more information.

To view our Facebook photo gallery of the “Pleeztameecha” event, click here.

Anne Fridh, Administrator of Rosecrance Ware Center, speaks about mental illness in wake of Robin Williams' death

Anne Fridh, Administrator of Rosecrance Ware Center, speaks about mental health in an article written by Melissa Westphal from the Rockford Register Star.

In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, 39,518 suicides were reported in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention noted that the numbers make suicide the 10th-leading cause of death for Americans.

Rosecrance Health Network fields calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline when people call from the 815 area code.

The lifeline rings to a phone at Rosecrance’s triage center at the downtown Ware Center. The triage center is a voluntary facility where adult patients stay temporarily while they’re evaluated for treatment.

“We help people who are feeling afraid and worried that they’re going to hurt themselves,” Ware administrator and psychologist Anne Fridh said. “We’re constantly reaching out to folks, and they’re reaching out to us.

“Mental illness is something that can affect anybody. One thing to remember is that mental illness is much like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Folks struggle with it during a certain period of time and they continue to manage it.”

Fridh said self-destruction is a “very painful end, not just for the person who commits suicide but for the family members left behind.”

Rosecrance will host a Mental Health First Aid session Oct. 10 aimed at understanding and responding to the signs of mental illness and substance abuse.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about it. There’s certainly a stigma about why they didn’t get the help they needed, if the family member knew it was going to happen. That’s not always the case. Sometimes there are signs, and sometimes there aren’t,” Fridh said.

“I think the stigma is mostly related to the fact that people don’t really understand how you can get yourself to the point where (suicide) is the only option left. They don’t understand how depression puts that in people’s minds, how really overwhelming the illness can become.”

The median age for a depression diagnosis is 32, Fridh said. The median age has increased as more older adults are found to have depression, in part because people are living longer.


You can read the entire article here on the Rockford Register Star’s website.

Freeport Community Foundation supports construction of basketball court at Rosecrance Hillman House


Daniel Schmitt (right), Executive Director of the Freeport Community Foundation, and Dick Drogosz, present a check for $4,000 to Lynne Vass, Rosecrance Senior Vice President of Development. This donation, a gift from the John M. Drogosz Youth Substance Abuse Prevention/Treatment Memorial Fund at the Freeport Community Foundation, will help support the construction of a basketball court at Rosecrance Hillman House recovery home for teen boys.