As we consider mental health issues during May, we see references to how people cope with different mental health issues. One way that people of all ages have frequently used is to “drown their sorrows” with alcoholic drinks. During the early days of the pandemic, bars and restaurants were closed but liquor stores remained open. In Virginia, regulations that prohibited alcoholic beverage “to go cups” were lifted. According to the Centers for Disease Control, alcohol use disorders increased during the pandemic. The national spotlight is on substance use disorders, especially overdose deaths from opioids. However, according to Dr.  Stephen Loyd, a nationally recognized addiction treatment physician, alcohol use disorder is still the substance use disorder that is treated the most in American treatment and recovery programs.

The Eastern Shore Community Services Board has clinicians, case managers, peer recovery specialists and programs to address  mental health issues and substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorder. A Peer Recovery Specialist is a person with “lived experience” who has been trained to support those who struggle with mental health, psychological trauma, or substance use. Their personal experience of these challenges provide peer support specialists with expertise that professional training cannot replicate.  The Peer Recovery Specialists at the ESCSB lead SMART Recovery groups for ESCSB clients with alcohol and substance use disorders. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. The peers lead groups at various ESCSB offices and at the Eastern Shore Regional Jail in Eastville. For anyone who is living with an alcohol use disorder, please contact the ESCSB at 757-665-5041 to ask about Same Day Access services. For more information on mental health and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services, go to www.escsb.org.

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