Patti McNulty, CAC-AD, is the holistic health practitioner at Serenity Acres. She also provides addictions counseling and family education to our clients and their loved ones. Not only does she have over 30 years of experience in the addictions field, but she also has extensive experience with trauma counseling. In fact, she was one of the first counselors on site in New York to work with the survivors and employees involved in the Flight 800 plane crash in 1996. With all the experience she has, it still hits close to home when she sees trauma and addiction in her own community.

Patti is the proud mother of several sons, one of whom is currently attending high school in their city of Severna Park, Maryland. She recently sat down to talk to us about recent events that, as a mother and a mental health professional, have shaken her to her very core. In her son’s high school, there have been seven suicides within the last few years. Seven young lives lost- a tragedy that she believes could have been prevented with more honest and open communication, and the art of human connection.

Patti believes that in today’s technology-driven world, we have become far too isolated from those around us. People are so engaged with social media, that face to face conversations are unfortunately becoming a relic of the past. As a professional, Patti believes that we need each other to heal and to grow. If all we know is social media, it is easy to feel disconnected from others and unimportant. If we want to prevent more unnecessary deaths, a first step in the right direction is just having conversations. Talk to your kids, neighbors, friends, and others in your community. Build relationships, so that when something is wrong, the door will be open for communication and sharing. It is by listening to others, without judgment or opinion, and expressing empathy, that we make them feel less alone in this world.

Taking an active interest in each other and in our communities is the first step necessary if we want to prevent not only more suicides, but also the drug abuse that is plaguing Maryland. Communication is key to prevention. Take a look at the video to hear Patti’s thoughts.

For more information on mental health as it relates to addiction, call the treatment professionals at Serenity Acres, 1-800-203-2024.