Dr. Gray Talks Substance Abuse

Photo Credit / Virginia Higgins Dr. Gray spent time observing a hospital’s mental health and substance abuse wing.

Virginia Higgins

Contributing Writer

In her presentation titled “Community on the Fringe”  Dr. Mary Tod Gray discussed her findings after observing a hospital’s mental health and substance abuse to start of this semester’s Provost Colloquium series.

The retired ESU professor spent two years observing hospital she referred to as “Mountain Hospital.”

During her time there Gray observed the way the hospital functioned and interviewed nurses and other staff members to understand their perspectives on mental health care.

The researched focused mainly on the co-existence of substance abuse disorders and mental health issues.

As Gray said “the treatment is better if it’s done together,” and many insurances require treatment for both mental illness and substance abuse disorders in order to receive financial coverage.

Some of the nurses in interviews expressed their skepticism towards addictions, a topic often debated.

Many feel that addiction is a choice, while others view it as a mental illness like any other.

Drawn on the board in Beers Lecture Hall was a diagram of the hospital, which provided a visual of what the mental health ward looked like.

Gray showed the path that many of the patients would walk around, which was a small circle around the nurses’ station, or as Gray referred to it, “the heart of the unit.”

In interviews, the nurses described the ward as “small and stuffy.”

The Provost Colloquium is a series of presentations given by faculty, alumni, and members of the community about various topics within their area of expertise.

This is the third year that ESU has held the lectures.

The Provost Colloquium lectures continue with a presentation by Dr. Weichu Xu titled “Emotions in Rational Strategic Decision Making Process: A China-US Cross-Cultural Experimental Study” on September 26 at 5:30 in Beers Lecture Hall.

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