Matters of Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and what better way to learn about mental health struggles than to hear from a professional in the field? Rage Against Addiction had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Williams Badders, a Harford County, Maryland resident who has plenty of knowledge and experience helping those who are battling various disorders.
- What is your official title and role? I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, the Owner of Living Forward Counseling, a Clinical Supervisor at Addiction Connections Resource, and a Lead Trainer for Lauryn’s Law. I am currently a Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer and QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Suicide Prevention Trainer. I have been involved with the Cherish the Child Committee for fourteen years, the Harford County Trauma Institute Committee since its inception, and the Harford County Suicide Prevention Workgroup.
- What other titles and roles have you held in the past? I developed the Harford County Teen Court Program in 2007. I was a Certified Prevention Professional at the Office of Drug Control Policy for seven years. I was an Inpatient and Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Counselor, and a Clinical Supervisor at an alternative school for middle and high school students who were diagnosed with emotional behavioral disorders. This job was challenging, but also so rewarding and fun. And of course, my experience with addiction was beneficial in working with this adolescent population as well.
- What experience do you have with mental health disorders or substance use disorders? My younger sister Jessie battled depression since she was very young. She eventually discovered heroin and had multiple treatment attempts before she was even 18 years old. Jessie was in recovery for several years before she died of a morphine overdose the day following her 27th birthday. I had never experienced anything so consuming and painful. Despite being a therapist myself, I had difficulty finding the help that I needed after the loss of my sister.
- What made you get involved with the field you are in? Mental health and addiction are family diseases, and need to be addressed as such. They both create a ripple effect and can even make family members unwell. That was definitely the case with my family. I attended a family program at an addiction treatment center when my younger sister was in treatment for her addiction. This experience was very healing. I decided at that time that I would change direction, return to school, and pursue counseling. I started as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor in both inpatient and outpatient settings while pursuing my Masters in Social Work.
- What are some challenges you face in your job? Insurance is supposed to increase access to help. However, it is often a barrier, dictating how often someone can have therapy, how long their sessions are allowed to be, and even if their suffering warrants treatment at all. Access to treatment needs to improve. Sometimes clients want to change but have little to no motivation. I have always been bothered by the saying “don’t work harder than your client” because I think sometimes you may have a client who needs someone to work hard for them. When you care that much about your clients, you must be extra careful about burnout.
- What are some things you love about your job? The committees that I have worked on have allowed me to meet many interesting people such as John Walsh of ‘America’s Most Wanted’, Elizabeth Smart, and so many others. I enjoy volunteering in my community to certify others in Suicide Prevention or Mental Health First Aid. I get to meet people who are helpers in my community, and I enjoy giving back. As a therapist, I am able to work with some pretty amazing people, and I am honored that they allow me to join them on their journey towards a healthier mind and spirit. I like to give hope to those struggling with their grief. I share a message that you can be happy and find joy in life again. I remind them that you don’t “get over it” but you can move forward with your grief and you don’t have to go through it alone.
- How do you feel society as a whole views mental illness and addiction? Unfortunately, I believe society continues to stigmatize addiction and mental health. Many people are judgmental until it happens to them or someone that they love.
- How are you helping those struggling (either the person directly, his/her family, etc.)? After focusing most of my training on grief, I added it to my other specializations of anxiety and Substance Use Disorder. Deaths caused by substance use carry a stigma that is different than other causes of death. A few years ago, I started three grief support groups specific to recovering from losing a loved one to a drug or alcohol-related death. One is for adult siblings who are often the forgotten grievers, one is for children 12 and under, and one is for teens. Gathering in a group of others with a similar loss, talking about the loss, and hearing about the loss of others can help participants battle the loneliness as well as the shame that can be associated with overdose and other substance-related deaths.
- How far has your local community come in the perspective and treatment of mental illness and addiction? I have watched many of us in Harford County (Maryland) take grief and tragedy and turn them into action. We have developed an amazing network of agencies, non-profits, and individuals who have banded together to help others. These partnerships have worked tirelessly to provide advocacy and improve access to treatment. Harford County has many second-chance employers and it continues to grow support for our recovery community. I am proud of our community, but we still have a long way to go.
- What do you hope to see in the next five years when it comes to mental illness and addiction? I hope to see more resources for adolescents. At this time, we have to find more inpatient, day programs, and other resources outside of our community.
Please check out these links to find out more about what Katie does, and to get more information regarding resources:
- Addiction Connections Resource
- Living Forward Counseling
- Lauryn’s Law
- QPR Suicide Prevention
- Cherish The Child
- Office of Drug Control Policy
If you are having suicidal thoughts and / or actions, please call 911 immediately.
As you may be aware, my family has been significantly impacted by addiction and addiction grief. What I have learned in the experience and journey for myself (and from families I have interacted with) is that grief and addiction don’t only affect the individual struggling, but they also affect the mental health of those who love them by causing anxiety and depression. Mental health is real, it’s important, and it matters. #mentalhealthawareness
National Recovery Month Night Out
To honor National Recovery Month this September, we will be hosting a ‘National Recovery Month Night Out’ on Saturday, September 17, 2022, from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, at the Mount Zion Church Tent (1643 Churchville Road – Bel Air, MD 21015). You will have the chance to join us as we celebrate the individuals in our community who work hard each and every day to maintain and enhance their recovery journey. We have unique sponsorship opportunities available that will directly benefit our programs as well as opportunities for you or your business to donate items or services for our silent auction, raffle baskets, and games. Please contact Mia@RageAgainstAddiction.com for more information. Please check back soon for ticket purchasing details.
It’s easy and it’s simple. If you are not able to directly help us in-person or attend our events but still want to spread the word, please consider creating a Facebook fundraiser for your birthday. All you have to do is share it on your social media pages and collect contributions from the comfort of your home. If you reach at least $250, you will qualify to receive a free Rage Against Addiction t-shirt. Every dollar counts and every life matters.
Addiction Connections Resource: A non-profit organization that assists with providing resources and support for addiction treatment and that educates the community about substance abuse disorder. Located in Fallston, MD. Please visit here or call 443-417-7810 for more information.
Ashley Addiction Treatment: An inpatient treatment center that personalizes clinical programs based on individual need. Located in Havre De Grace, MD. Please visit here or call 800-799-4673 for information about online and in-person meeting services.
Celebrate Recovery: A local support group for those with addictive behaviors. Located in Bel Air, MD and Joppa, MD.
-Mountain Christian Church (New Life Center 1802 Mountain Road, Joppa, MD 21085) – every Friday at 6:00pm. Please visit here for more details.
GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing): A local support group for those who have lost someone to addiction.
-7:00pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.
-Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church – 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015
The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center: A clinic that provides immediate care for mental health and addiction. Located in Bel Air, MD. Please visit here or call 410-874-0711 for information about services.
Loving An Addict: A local support group for family and friends of those in active addiction.
-7:00 pm every Saturday.
-Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church – 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015
-Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We serve locally but think globally. For counseling, or for addiction, substance abuse disorder, or mental illness treatment, please contact your area’s health department, county government, hospital, or law enforcement agency.
Rage Against Addiction Programs
Daughter’s House: Designed to assist women who are transitioning from substance abuse treatment to recovery; includes two sober living houses (Daughter’s House and Sister House) located in the suburbs of Harford County, MD. Click here to visit the Facebook page.
Rage Club: Designed specifically for children affected by addiction to help them process their feelings and learn about the disease by offering counselor-led activities, such as equine and art therapy, nature walks, and more. The group meets several times a year. Click here for more information
HALO (How to Live Without Our Addicted Loved One): An online grief support group specifically for those that lost loved ones to substance abuse. Click here to ask to join the private Facebook page. *Please read and answer the membership questions prior to joining.*
RAA ABC (After Baby Care): Provides post-partum care packages to new mothers in early recovery.
Rage Against Addiction Team Members
Wendy Beck: Founder and Executive Director
Rachel Bongiorno: Recovery Coach and Daughter’s House Program Director
Mia Ellis: Newsletter Writer and Administrator
Amanda Buddenbohn: RAA’S ABC (After Baby Care) Coordinator
Tara Kuzma: Chairman of the Board of Directors
Sarah Hoover: Rage Club Event Coordinator and Volunteer
Michael Nesline: Rage Club Mascot