Mental Illness Chemical Addition (MICA) Virtual Support Group

Independent Perspective 1704 with Brett Dunbar about his upcoming Mental Illness Chemical Addition (MICA) Virtual Support Group

Host  Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Brett Dunbar, Peer Support Specialist and Life Coach with Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC). And I'm your host Ernie Churchwell, welcome to the program Brett. And you're here because you are the knowledgeable person about an exciting new development in assisting people with behavioral health issues and particularly other related issues that's coming up in the very near future. What can you tell us about the MICA support group? And first come to think of it, a lot of people when they hear MICA, they think of the sheet crystal in mineral or they think of the prospector from some old Westerners something but MICA has a very specific meaning in a rehabilitation setting. Just what is that?

Guest:  Mental illness and chemical abuse.

Host:  So, you have a built-in population, considering that of potential participants, considering they keep saying that substance abuse concerns, especially overdoses, are climbing in recent years. Just what it is you are preparing that will assist these people and how broad a scope of participants you intend to use?

Guest:  So, with mental illness and chemical abuse, there's a lot of crosstalk the issues people have tend to overlap. And I think it's not explained well how your mental health can affect your substance abuse or how your substance abuse can affect your mental health. I actually spend some time in a MICA unit and I found that specifically promoting and using mindfulness techniques such as staying in the moment, or being realistic with yourself or even through meditation, or staying grounded can help people sort of deal with the impulsivity of the substance use specifically. Because in most cases, substance use is kind of an impulsive thing that we're just kind of do not really think about it right. But those techniques can also be applied to people that have mental health issues. So really anyone that wants to join the group can come, it's an interesting subject, and I feel more people should know.

Host:  Do you think that people being forced to self-isolate in many cases because of the pandemic might have increased the number of people who tend to abuse?

Guest:  Oh, absolutely. I think the stats on opioid use specifically have gone up significantly since the start of the pandemic because people are stuck in their houses and for problem, you know, depressed board a whole all sorts of things.

Host:  People are probably aware that a lot of opioid dependencies came because pharmaceutical companies were pressing doctors to prescribe prescription painkillers. And then because there was a crackdown, they had to start soft peddling that. Do you find that that's a source of many people's addictions?

Guest:  Yeah, I think what's happening now is people who were getting the painkillers and now that they're not prescribing painkillers as much as they're turning to street drugs, right. What's happening you know, they're going out to the streets. They're like, Okay, well, I have this opioid issue I'm dealing with, I'm not going to deal with it now. And when you do that, you start getting the things like not having clean needles, so the health care, it's just kind of continues to grow.

Host:  Say, before we're out of time, if you could give the particulars of the group, what is your plan to start it and when will it occur during the month?

Guest:  So, I plan to start it on July 21, which is a Thursday, it starts at 3:00 and it will go to 4:00 p.m. It's going to be virtual, so there will be a way to get to it on Zoom, and it'll be the first and third Thursday of every month starting on the 21st

Host:  Great and since it is on Zoom and people will need to get the Zoom links, how can they contact you for that or for other information?

Guest:  So, my email address is That's one way to do it. But they can also just call me at the office which is 716-836-0822 and my extension is 509.

Host:  Thanks so much for being with us Brett.

Guest:  You're welcome. Thanks for talking to me.

Host:  Our pleasure. You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today has been Brett Dunbar, Peer Support Specialist and Life Coach with MHPC and I've been your host Ernie Churchwell.