Letter to the editor: A message from DePaul’s Office of Health Promotion & Wellness

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Maggie Gallagher | The DePaulia

Cases of beer stacked in a cooler at Walgreen’s.

In response to the recent (4/25/20) article, Some DePaul Students Increase Substance Use During Pandemic, The Office of Health Promotion & Wellness would like to comment and provide resources for students who may need them. Please consider this letter to the editor.

Increased substance use is a trend that is being experienced during this time. Many people who were previously struggling with substance use and/or mental health concerns may now be finding it more difficult to enact healthy coping skills. Additionally, isolation is often a key component in over-use and/or addiction, and connecting during this time is more difficult. 

At the same time, many people who have been in recovery or had started building internal accountability and a wide range of coping skills may be benefiting from having fewer triggers and are finding it easier to maintain sobriety.

 With a wide range of experiences related to substance use, comes a wide range of resources. For DePaul students, The Office of Health Promotion & Wellness (HPW) continues to provide peer-led workshops, individual support with professional staff and recovery community support. 

HPW offers individual support sessions for students, whether they are curious about their substance use, actively looking to cut down, wanting to learn harm reduction strategies, or needing to be connected with other resources like mutual aid meetings or therapists. 

Students can engage in a Choices workshop, held weekly on Fridays, 2-4 p.m., for education and reflection on harm reduction strategies. Students can find Choices workshops on DeHUB. Finally, there is a weekly Collegiate Recovery Community meeting – these meetings are open to any DePaul student who identifies as being in any type of recovery. For more information, email hpw@depaul.edu or visit http://go.depaul.edu/hpw. 

For those who may not be personally struggling, there are many ways to support those around you. Check in with your friends, avoid emphasizing or glamorizing substance use, believe people who express they need help. Some people may be taking a “do it while I can” approach or connecting by engaging in drinking games or other ways of encouraging substance use. 

Be sure you’re aware of harm reduction strategies and know that substance use is progressive – have strategies in place for tracking use and keeping yourself and others safe. Rather than thinking of substance use as “right” or “wrong,” consider your relationship to it – is it escalating, chaotic, unpredictable, etc? 

Please reach out to HPW to support yourself or a friend and remember, Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Others, Take Care DePaul.

 

Katie Bellamy, MA, LCPC, BC-DMT

Substance Misuse Prevention Specialist

Office of Health Promotion and Wellness

DePaul University

2250 N Sheffield Avenue, Suite 302, Chicago, IL 60614

773-325-4550 | kbellamy@depaul.edu | go.depaul.edu/hpw

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers