JOPLIN, Mo. — Substance abuse and suicidal thoughts are two separate struggles.
But, many times, those two go hand-in-hand.
Research shows 22% of suicides involve alcohol, while 20% involve opioids.
This is the next part of our KSN special series — The Suicide Crisis: Prevention, Information, and Awareness.
Ronda Reed, Former Addict, said, “I felt like I was just overwhelmed, and I just needed to check out.”
Ronda Reed, on the heels of a divorce, describes what it felt like as suicidal thoughts crept into her mind several years ago.
“One time I took a handful of pills. And then the second time I wrecked my car, tried to hit a tree.”
She had been depressed — unable to pull herself out of it — and thought that would be her escape.
Pile on 15 years of an addiction to opiates, which started because, Ronda says, her husband was an alcoholic and brought home pills one day.
“When you’re addicted to a substance, like opiates, the withdrawals are miserable and you just want to find a way out.”
Susan Rhoads, Freeman Ozark Center Substance Use Counselor, said, “With substance use, our inhibitions are lowered. And, so what may have not been a solution without the drugs or alcohol, now is a solution.”
But one day it just clicked for Ronda.
She remembers watching her daughter walk into the room and the sadness on her daughters face told her all she needed to know.
“I was very tempted to go just buy more pills, but instead, I put my shoes on, and I went and joined a group,” said Reed.
“That day. Within 30 minutes, put my shoes on, drove to Joplin and went to group.”
The services at Freeman Health System’s Ozark Center and New Directions were literally life-saving.
“The day that I walked in to New Directions, I was crying. When I walked out, I was smiling.”
“To watch them bloom and grow, it’s just… It’s amazing,” said Rhoads.
“Once I started recovering, about 5 months in I asked my daughter if I was doing better and she said, ‘I love you this way, Mom,” said Reed.
Now, over a year sober, Ronda is emotional when she thinks about how far she’s come.
“Because unfortunately, my kids father did take his life and I’m all they have, so I’ve gotta be strong for my children.”
“Just to have somebody reach out and say, ‘You’re worth it.’ You are worth my time, my effort, my energy. I’m here for you,” said Rhoads.
“I’ve had to learn a very hard lesson. Every day I have to look at my kids and see their father’s not there. So, I don’t think he meant to hurt them. But it hurts more people that you think when you take your life.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and needs someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk.
Also have more resources for you on Four States Homepage under the suicide crisis tab.