When does it stop being a party and start becoming a problem? Is there a way to steer clear of addiction?

Every Wednesday, Mike McGowan explores substance use disorders with expert guests.


Trauma. It Helps to Share

July 17, 2024 29 minutes

Trauma is a word used a lot today. Whether caused by events that happen naturally or through human ineptitude and cruelty, studies show an increase in people dealing with trauma. Jim Scarpace is the Chief Clinical Officer and Interim Community Division President at Gateway Foundation, one of the nation’s largest providers of behavioral health services for clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders, and in this podcast he discusses how to recognize trauma, what it does to us, and what to do about it. Jim has over 25 years in administration, operations, and the treatment of mental health, substance use disorders, and criminal justice programs. Jim is also an assistant professor of Clinical Psychology at Benedictine University. Gateway Foundation can be contacted at their 24-hour hotline 855-925-GATE (4283) or at www.gatewayfoundation.org.

Trying All of That (and then some) in a Small Town

July 10, 2024 26 minutes

Substance use and misuse and mental health issues within a rural community can present many problems. From lack of available services and resources to economics and privacy issues, working in small towns and rural areas presents many challenges. Rachel Stankowski and Danielle Luther discuss those challenges and what the Family Health Center of Marshfield, Wisconsin, is doing about them. Rachel Stankowski, PhD, is an Operations Project Manager, and Danielle Luther, MPH, is a Senior Project Manager. Both work at Family Health Center of Marshfield, Wisconsin. The Family Health Center and its services can be reached at Family Health Center of Marshfield. The HOPE Consortium, its upcoming conference, and the webinar series can be accessed at HOPE Consortium – Supporting Treatment and Recovery in the Northwoods

Never Too Old to Get Help

July 3, 2024 27 minutes

Substance Use Disorders affect every demographic, but the impact on some groups has received less attention. An estimated one million older people in the United States have a substance use challenge. Alexandra Plante discusses her article “Substance Use Challenges in Older Adults” and the substance use issues facing older adults. Ms. Plante is a Senior Advisor of Substance Use Disorder in the Strategy and Growth Office of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Specialist Award in Substance Use Disorder, leads the National Substance Use Interest Group, and volunteers her time with the Maine Recovery Advocacy Project. She has served as a consultant to U.S. federal agencies and state policymakers as well as to international agencies such as the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime (UNODC). The National Council for Mental Wellbeing, its resources, and Ms. Plante can be reached at https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/. For those in need of assisted living, Caring.com, https://www.caring.com/senior-living/assisted-living/assisted-living-and-addiction/, has put together a guide of questions that patients and families can ask of assisted living facilities about substance use disorder support.


June 26, 2024 28 minutes

Michael Rebellino talks about Crazy, his followup novel to his critically-acclaimed novel of recovery, Clean. In Crazy, Rebellino uses a creative mix of prose and poetry to examine the challenges of caring for a loved one’s mental health while managing one’s own recovery and mental health. Where is the line between self care and selfless care for others? Michael is a writer, a professional civil engineer, and a substance use disorder/mental health advocate. Michael’s information and his book can be found at Michael Rebellino

American Madness: The Broken Mental Health System

June 19, 2024 28 minutes

Dr. Alice Feller grew up in a family affected by mental illness and then made it her life’s work. She discusses her work within the mental health system and her thoughts on the state of care available to those who need it. Her book, American Madness: Fighting for Patients In a Broken Mental Health System, is an honest examination of a system in need of overhaul. Dr. Alice Feller is a board-certified clinical psychiatrist, mental health advocate, and author. She has worked in private practice, hospital emergency rooms, psychiatric wards, chemical dependency programs, and public clinics in East Oakland, California, and beyond. Dr. Feller’s contact information can be found at Alice Feller, M.D. | Author of American Madness.

Surviving Alex

June 12, 2024 29 minutes

Patricia Roos, Professor Emerita of Sociology, was at Rutgers University when, in 2015, she lost her son Alex, who was 25 years of age, to a heroin overdose. As a professor who had devoted her career to the study and research of work, gender, inequalities, stratification, work/family dynamics, and addiction, Patricia shifted her research and advocacy interests, turning grief into activism. In her new book Surviving Alex, Patricia weaves together the personal and the sociological as she examines the broader set of factors implicated in mental health and substance use disorders. Patricia’s book, her other works, and contact information, can be accessed at Patricia A. Roos

How K-Dramas Can Transform Your Life

June 5, 2024 27 minutes

When one is stressed and under pressure, there are many paths towards healing and mental health. Jeanie Y. Chang discusses the unique role that K-dramas (Korean dramas) might play in that process. Jeanie Y. Chang is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and author of the new book, “How K-Dramas Can Transform Your Life: Powerful Lessons on Belongingness, Healing, and Mental Health.” She is an accomplished international speaker, providing keynotes and workshops for corporations, community organizations, and universities addressing the intersectionality of mental health and identity, DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging), and psychological safety, as well as education about topics such as burnout, resilience, mindfulness, stress, and mental health conditions including anxiety and depression. Jeanie’s contact information, socials, and book can be accessed at Noonas Noonchi

Communities That Care

May 29, 2024 27 minutes

It may take a village to raise a child, but how do you organize the village to care and work together? Timmie Sinclair talks about a prevention initiative called Communities That Care and what it takes to get it going and keep it going as well as how programs like these make a difference in people’s lives. Timmie Sinclair is a Community Impact Coordinator for the United Way of Door County Wisconsin. Communities That Care is part of the Social Development Research Group, an internationally recognized, interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners united in a common mission to understand and promote healthy behaviors and positive social development among children, adolescents, and young adults. Information about Communities That Care can be found at The Center for Communities That Care. Timmie Sinclair and The United Way of Door County Wisconsin can be reached at United Way of Door County – United We Fight. United We Win.

Big Boys Do Cry

May 22, 2024 26 minutes

“Suck it up” and “Deal with it” were phrases many men heard if they began to express their feelings while growing up. Ryan Kopyar saw multiple generations of men in his family live out those phrases. Ryan discusses his new book, Big Boys Do Cry: A Man’s Guide to Navigating Emotions and Showing Up More Vulnerable in Relationships, and the importance in expressing difficult emotions. Ryan is an internationally-licensed counselor and acclaimed author with a diverse background in holistic healing, counseling, and hypnotherapy. Ryan’s books, his other works, and contact information, including event speaking and booking, can be accessed at Ryan Kopyar Holistic Healing and Counseling

Love is Love

May 15, 2024 31 minutes

Despite a growing acceptance, in many parts of our society, of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQIA+) community, this subset of the population has a significantly elevated risk of addiction and mental health difficulties compared to the general U.S. adult population. Recent studies have also shown that significant differences even exist among individual LGBQ and T subgroups. Kelly and Andrew, a mother – son duo, team up to educate folks about understanding and accepting gender dysphoria. Educational materials can be found at: 5 Short Videos for Teaching Students About What It Means to Be Transgender