YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. October 10 is also recognized as World Mental Health Day. Experts say that sometimes, the two issues can be related.
Director Brianne Gayhart joined Hannah’s House’s program on February 1, 2017. It’s a recovery and treatment program.
“My mental health diagnosis came hand in hand with my drug use. Prior to coming into Hannah’s House, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety that I was on psych meds for,” Gayhart said.
Gayhart says abusing substances altered the chemicals in her brain, which impacted her mental health. In other cases, mental health struggles are the cause of substance abuse.
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Was it mental health came first or addiction came first? We do see it going 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 who is beating you down mentally and physically, it takes a real toll. You start to believe the lies that 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 higher risks of suicide, higher risks of depression, anxiety. Certainly post-traumatic stress disorder. They can have previous existing mental health issues kind of be amplified,” Varley Gray said.
Varley Gray says domestic violence costs the U.S. $8.3 billion per year. There are around 8 million work days that are lost due to the complex needs associated with victims. She says if you are a victim, there is hope.
“Sometimes their soul is broken and they have to learn, re-learn how valuable they are. They have to know how worthy they are and that they can be free from this abuse,” Varley Gray said.
“Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to pick up the phone, but you need to know that you are not alone,” Gayhart said.
For more information on how you can get help, click here. You can also visit Hannah’s House’s website or call them at 330-609-5683. Compass Family and Community Service’s website is also a great resource.