Family and Recovery – Leann Mitchell, LCSW, Director of Family Services


Hey 22 on FM 97.3 WZBG smack dab in the middle of December 3rd Wednesday in December. And with that we always have a conversation with folks from the McCall Center for Behavioral Health and Health Bank. And today on the line with us is Leanne Mitchell Leanne is the Director of Family Services at the McCall Center. Good morning Leanne. Good morning. Thanks for having me on. Well thank you for being our guest this morning and as we get on the airways this morning and talk about our topic here with the McCall Center. You know we’re in the holiday season. This is a family time of year. And of course the mission at McCall is to help folks find a way to recovery and substance use and mental health disorders. We’re going to talk about the family impact on this because as I think anyone who’s been in this fight before knows it goes beyond the individual and to all those folks in the family who are trying to love them through this right?

Yes. Yes. And so what I often talk about in my work as the Director of Family Services I get a lot of phone calls. We get a lot of phone calls throughout McCall. Some people who are coming from a place is caring and comparing but also more specifically is what more maybe they could be doing to be helpful. And so I often describe this process as recovery is really a parallel process. Recovery for somebody who’s trying to manage substance use or struggling with mental health. They themselves are trying to search for a pathway and what I often tell you is that there’s at least five but most of the time many more who are trying to also love that person and they themselves are if needed to go through a recovery process. Well, it’s not an easy thing because it can be an extremely frustrating process for the family that are trying to be supported. So let’s take a look at a two ways.

The one is just maybe emotional exhaustion as this person maybe they’ve been struggling for a while and it’s harder for a family member to understand where that person is sometimes. And the other is a feeling of helplessness too. It’s like I don’t have the tools. I don’t know how to help and I guess McCall can help with that. Absolutely. So we do also through McCall Center, we do also a huge piece of what we try to do when somebody enters their doors to receive support and help is that we do try to write off the bat, start the initial conversations with is there anyone else in their life that they want to involve? And sometimes from the coming from a perspective of the person who’s struggling, there’s some hesitation with that. Often there’s a lot of emotions that come with deciding to get some sort of passive recovery and there’s sometimes shame and guilt that’s involved. And there might be this feeling that if I get my family member involved or someone who I view as support, is this only going to increase the shame that I feel?

And often what I try to explain is that with building, understanding around mental health struggles and some of these struggles, it actually creates a lot more empathy and compassion in the whole process. So do we get the folks together in a room and try to reach an understanding of where the parties are? So you’ve got the person who is, let’s say, battling addiction and trying to get into this fight. Again, it has it to bring on the shame of bringing the family in closer into this battle. And then you’ve got the family in the room that are trying to understand their role and how they can be the most helpful. Is this kind of a scenario that McCullough tries to create? Yes. So McCullough can offer a couple of different paths in what I kind of described. So McCullough can offer to actually do family therapy, which would involve just the family unit with the person who is struggling.

But then McCullough also offers a group. It’s a peer support and education group called Recovery Together. And in that group, what we really try to do is we bring topics around substance use, mental health, and recovery. And when they’re helping people build their understanding about the process, while I’m also really honing in on specific skills that will help bring about change. I often describe changes being very difficult. And that’s, you know, the family in the recovery process, ultimately, what’s happening is that they’re being forced to change or asked to change as well, some of their behaviors. Often with substance use and mental health, we fall into these patterns of how we operate within relationships. And when the person is trying to get on a better path, the family members might have to change and adjust some of the ways that they operate within that relationship. So more specifically, one of the most common questions is around not giving someone money anymore.

First fear that we’re continuing to contribute, maybe, to the substance use problem. And then when I cover it together, we really talk a lot about deciding on a change, but a change that you’re able to commit to and to stick with. And so it’s not helpful for someone to suggest a change that you would never be able to follow through with. And so we try to start small in setting some boundaries. And within setting boundaries and learning the ways to operate within relationships, ultimately, what you’re doing as the family member or the loved one is you’re learning how to take care of yourself. Often, I find that people are so worried and so overwhelmed by what their loved one is going through that they forget to, I often use the analogy about when you go on a plane, you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anybody else. And so a huge piece of what I’m trying to encourage and really help people understand is that it’s important to take care of yourself as well. All right.

So it’s that self-care. You’ve got to be in your best place if you’re going to be of maximum benefit to the person who is in that battle. You mentioned recovery together when for folks who are hearing this and they’re in the family unit and they want to get some of these tools, let’s talk about when recovery together meets and how they can be included in it. Oh, sure. So anybody who would be interested in recovering together, either in a contact me directly or you call the recall name number 84062100. The group meets so on Zoom due to just all of the madness with COVID. Sure. So we’re still meeting them virtually. And so really it’s just a matter of calling. You know, at this point, I’m the point person for that group. So I’m more than happy to have further conversations about the group.

But really it’s just a matter of them. They get sent to you link and it gets one thing from 5.37. All right. And there’s no charge for this. I understand for folks who want to get involved. There’s no charge. I will give credit to we do receive some grant funding through DMS, which we are very grateful for that we can. If we’re going to see opportunity to offer this support at no charge and no cost to the individuals. Well, Leanne, we appreciate it. Our time runs out here and our interview time talking about their talking with director of family services at the McCulls Center, Leanne Mitchell. And talking about how families can be better equipped, get some tools, get some perspective to help that person in their lives who is in the battle.

And Leanne, we appreciate the help and we hope that families will reach out if this is the kind of thing that they need to make all their lives better. Especially at this time of year when we’re all supposed to be enjoying family company that we get the tools to truly work together to get to that successful end. Absolutely. Well, and thank you so much again for having me on and I wish you and everybody at CBG and everybody listening very happy holidays and a safe new year. Leanne, thanks so much for your time. All the best to everyone at the McCulls Center for Behavioral Health and Health Inc. We look forward to our interviews coming up in the new year on the third Wednesday of the month, all the best to you and yours for the holiday as well. Thank you, Dale. Thanks, have a good day. Thank you, too. Leanne Mitchell from the McCulls Center for Behavioral Health and Health Inc.

On FM 97.3 WCBG, run it just a minute later so we’ll head to the newsroom now. Hey Jeff. Dale Log.