What to do if you find drugs in your child’s room?

What to do if you find drugs in your child’s room?

It’s one of every parent’s nightmares. During a routine cleaning of your child’s room you accidentally come across a benign little baggie. Curiosity gets the best of you, and you open it up only to be shocked to find your teen’s stash of drugs. At first, you think your eyes must be playing a trick on you. After all, your child would never do drugs, especially after so many candid discussions about the pitfalls of addiction and the dangers of drugs. Right!?


The truth is that you are not alone, and you if come across your child’s stash of drugs, you can count yourself as one of the lucky parents. At least you know.

The trick is knowing what to do once you find the drugs. Of course, you are angry, and most parents’ FIRST reaction is to get angry and take away all freedoms that their teen has. While experts agree that consequences are necessary and should be immediate when parents realize their child is experimenting. It is also important for parents to keep the lines of communication necessary so they can ascertain the extent of their teens drug use.

Important questions that you need answered.

Is your teen just experimenting, or are they on the road to addiction?

Where did they obtain the drugs?

How long have they been doing drugs?

Why does your child feel the “need” to do drugs?


So what should you do now?

First, sit down and have an open, clear-headed conversation with your child. This is a time to build trust, to encourage your child to open up to you, to find out what is going on in their head and in their life. If you are too accusatory-your teen will think that you just don’t understand and will clam up – only hindering a positive ending.

The next step, regardless of the admitted level of drug use – is to seek some sort of drug and alcohol counseling from a professional experienced in the field.

Additionally, expose them in some manner – to the life that is ahead of them should they continue to use drugs.

Kids all over the country are becoming addicted to multiple different substances from every kind of background imaginable from the poorest of the poor to the very wealthy.

Don’t ever underestimate the role that peer pressure plays in a child’s drug use and do not give in to the guilt trip, because your child will not be helped by a parent who is feeling guilty and thus too immobilized to do anything.

If you suspect drug abuse is taking place, however, it is your responsibility as a parent to try to get help for your child. Drug abuse ruins lives, tears families apart and sometimes kills. It is nothing to be ignored!!!!!

Juliet Stiebeck is the Program Director of Recovery Services, a State-certified addictions recovery program at MHA Rockland.
Contact her at 845-267-2172, x225.

For information on programs offered at MHA Rockland and throughout the County, call our Client/Family Advocate at 845-267-2172, x296.

Consoling Someone Who has Lost a Loved One to Suicide

How can you console someone who has lost a loved one to suicide?

Many people who have lost a loved one to suicide tell us what they want most is to know that people care about them and are not judging them or the loved one they are grieving. The death of a loved one through any cause is painful, but losing someone we love to suicide adds another layer of pain and emotions to the experience of loss.

In our attempt to help, we can listen to what has helped others in this situation:
• Be there even if you don’t know what to do or say. The comfort of food, flowers, donations to causes, offers to help with final plans, and babysitting, can bring some comfort to those who are grieving
• Mention by name the person who has died and talk about his/her positive qualities and what you loved about him/her. People don’t want their loved one to be forgotten.
• Listen to your friend’s experience and try to understand what he/she is going through. Sometimes we need to stop ourselves from saying what we might think is helpful, but doesn’t really help those in sorrow, such as “You’re so strong”, “time heals all wounds”, “you will love again”. Our best intentions can be offered in words like “We love you and ________ (lost loved one)”, “What can we do to be helpful right now?” and “How are you getting along?”
• Be aware that other relatives and friends such as children and grandparents can often be overlooked.
• Take care of yourself and know your limitations – when a friend is hurting it takes its toll on you, too.
• As time passes, people appreciate those who remember the anniversary date and birthday of their loved one because they don’t want that person to be forgotten and never mentioned.
• Suffering a loss to suicide is a long-term bereavement. Your acceptance of that and not expecting a person to “snap out of it” will be appreciated.
American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Toll-Free: 1-888-333-AFSP (2377)

SOS Support Group for Survivors of Suicide, MHA of RC 845-267-2172
(A professionally facilitated group for those who have lost someone to suicide)

For more referral information, call our Client/Family Advocate – Nicole Sirignano, 845-267-2172, x296.

Author of blog – Marcella Amorese, Director, Children and Family Services, MHA Rockland, 845 267 2172 x324 amoreseM@mharockland.org

Should I Allow My Adult Child with Mental Illness to Move Back into My Home?

Should I Allow My Adult Child with Mental Illness to Move Back into My Home?

As parents we are often faced with the challenging decision as to how to best support our adult children.  How much help is too much help? How do we decide when we are helping and when we are hurting the growth and maturity process that we so desire in our children? When you compound this question with factors such as chronic medical and mental health concerns, the picture can become even more difficult to sort out.

When thinking this question through, there are several factors to consider:


What is the purpose of your adult child coming home? Are you extending your home as a way to help save money, to provide a layer of supervision, and or to help you with various responsibilities? These are all valid purposes that I recommend are clarified and discussed between you and your adult child. It is sometimes wise to write out the purpose to ensure that there is agreement. One of the most common reasons for living arrangements to be unsuccessful is due to the lack of agreement around Issues of purpose.

Time frame

How long are you willing to house your adult child? Are you expecting it to be a short term solution to an immediate crisis? Or, have you decided that she/he can stay as long as they want or need your help? How will you both know that it is time for her/him to move on? I would strongly urge you to have an open conversation with your adult child, clarifying your intention and inquiring as to how long they anticipate utilizing housing assistance from you. The best scenario will be one in which you both understand the expectations of the other and are working on being respectful of those expectations.


Unmet expectation often arises from a lack of clarity around the responsibilities that are being ascribed to another. Before your adult child comes home, very clear expectations around who is responsible for what should be discussed and agreed upon. For example, are you expecting a financial contribution? If so, how much and how often do you expect payment? Are there household chores that you expect your child to participate in completing? If so, what are they, how often do you want them done and is there a special way to do them? It may be important to think of your adult child as an adult first and your child second when thinking about living together. This could aid in helping them continue to mature as adults, especially when and if they leave your home again.

Getting help

It’s important to get help in thinking through the option of allowing your adult child with a mental illness to move back into your home. It is always appropriate to seek advice from professionals. In many instances your adult child with mental illness is involved in treatment and may have a team of
professionals who are working with him/her and can shed light on this dilemma. For example, at MHA,we regularly engage family members and important individuals whom our members have identified to help them achieve their goals.

The long and short of it is that the decision to allow your adult child with mental illness to move home is a personal and individual decision based on many factors. Unfortunately, there isn’t a set answer that will fit every situation. However, with careful consideration, open and honest upfront discussion, and input from professionals, the best decision for you and your loved one can be attained.

Sylvia Wright, LMSW
Adult Treatment and Rehabilitative Services

MHA teams with NY Senator David Carlucci at Student Advisory Committee Meeting

By David Carlucci
Last night we hosted another informative Student Advisory Committee meeting with students from throughout the Hudson Valley.

I want to thank Nicole Sirignano and Sean Campbell of the Mental Health Association of Rockland County for conducting a thought provoking talk on suicide prevention.

If you or a family member is in crisis, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can help improve healthcare in the Hudson Valley!

We are asking people who live in the Hudson Valley to take a completely anonymous 10 minute survey to tell us what they think about health needs in their communities. Your opinions are very important to us and will help us understand how to better meet your health care needs.

Click here for the survey.