When Holiday Cheer Causes Fear, First Call KC can Help

“Nobody sets out in life to become addicted. So why should we shame them for getting help?”


Holiday Cheer Causes Holiday Fear, First Call KC can Help

by Amanda S. Cherry



Holiday stress affects everyone. But when coping strategies include substance abuse, a local organization can help. Working with individuals, family members and children through a crisis hotline, preventative services and community organizations, First Call KC is the first call toward recovery.


“We need to make it so it’s just like getting a flu shot,” says Molly O’Neill, President/CEO of First Call KC. Reducing the stigma of substance use disorder to that of any illness like the flu, can aid recovery. “If you feel like you’re starting to get the flu you get your rear end to the doctor and get a Tamiflu prescription. Nobody is embarrassed to do that. Nobody is shamed for getting treated for the flu. Well nobody sets out in life to become addicted. So why should we shame them for getting help?”


O’Neill further explains that with substance use disorder the stigma can impact a person’s ability to get early treatment. She explains that getting early treatment can impact your recovery. “… with substance use disorder, if you start to be aware of the signs that you are abusing substances, and you get help early on, you can avoid crossing that line into addiction.”


Many experts recognize the signs of substance use disorder as having an overwhelming need for a substance that negatively impacts your life. O’Neill stressed that each person’s coping skills are unique and not always a sign of substance abuse or addiction. But holiday behaviors like getting high to cope with relatives, waking up unable to remember last night’s party or having a loved one suggest there is a problem, could all be signs that professional assessment is needed.


The First Call KC hotline 816-361-5900 is staffed 24/7 by professional counselors able to assess the needs of anyone in crisis, free and confidentially. After an assessment, First Call KC provides counseling or referrals for individuals, family members and children in the metro area based on a sliding scale fee or free of charge. No one is turned away for their inability to pay. First Call KC consolidates the process of getting recovery help, by eliminating barriers and reducing frustrations in dealing with multiple agencies.


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