The following letter was submitted to the editor of the New Canaan Advertiser by Kids In Crisis Teen Talk counselor Emma Kate Freatman, and printed August 1, 2018.
I will be attending the Aug. 30 Overdose Awareness Vigil, because this community event is important to me. I’m writing in hope that New Canaan families will consider attending the Vigil as well.
The Overdose Awareness Vigil is important to me because of my role in the New Canaan community. I recently began working at New Canaan High School as the Teen Talk counselor, a program of Kids In Crisis. In this role, I provide confidential counseling services to students dealing with numerous mental health, academic, social, and family issues. My hope is that by attending the Vigil and acknowledging the very real, very tragic effects that opioids, alcohol, and other addictive substances have on families in our community, we might reduce the stigma surrounding acknowledging addiction, asking for, and receiving help.
The theme of the Vigil this year is “Helping Each Other To Heal.” In this spirit, I urge you, reader, to please reach out to someone close to you and ask for them to join you at the Vigil on Aug. 30. Bring your kids, so that they might see the power of community support. Your presence will mean more to one of your neighbors than you can imagine, and your willingness to address a crisis will model advocacy to your children.
Substance use does not affect one individual, but the whole family. Kids in Crisis has a 24-hour helpline for youth and their families. If the substance use of your child or loved one is affecting your family, I hope you will call the Helpline number below. I will be available to talk about Kids in Crisis services at the Vigil as well. Local helpers and I will be easily identified by our “Team Orange” t-shirts at the Vigil. The helpline number is 203-661-1911. I welcome any opportunity to offer support, referrals, or a listening ear.
I hope to see you, your family, and friends as we “Help Each Other To Heal” at the Vigil Aug. 30.
Emma Kate Freatman
Kids In Crisis