Sam Anthony Lucania will be sharing his story of hope and recovery with students at four local high schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 28-29, and at a free public event on Wednesday evening at The Event Center in Taylor Springs.
Lucania shares a message of wellness along with his personal experiences with drugs, alcohol, anxiety, depression and suicidal behavior to motivate others to seek help. He will be speaking at the morning session on Tuesday at Hillsboro High School and in the afternoon to students at Lincolnwood High School. On Wednesday, Sam will be visiting Nokomis High School in the morning and Litchfield High School in the afternoon.
The free public event on Wednesday, Jan. 29, will begin at 6:30 p.m. at The Event Center.
"If you want to hear the whole story, join us for the evening session," Lucania said.
"We hope to pack the place with students, parents, teachers, counselors, law enforcement, church members, business owners, organization members and political and civic leaders," according to Dawn Young, secretary of Cross Over Ministries. "With the increase in substance use disorders and mental health conditions in Montgomery County, it is time we all became more aware of how to reduce stigma and promote recovery and wellness."
Statistics from the Hillsboro Area Hospital 2019 Health Needs Assessment indicate that Montgomery County's suicide rate is higher than the state of Illinois' rate (2010-2014) as well as the rate of Medicare beneficiaries with depression (2015). HSHS St. Francis Hospital reports that there has a been a 36 percent increase in the number of patients seen in the emergency department with behavioral health challenges from 2017 to 2019. Both hospitals are taking an active role in implementing new ways to effectively diagnose and treat these patients.
"These statistics are not just numbers," Linda Liebscher, president of Cross Over Ministries said. "They are our friends and neighbors, our children and our parents. Cross Over Ministries is a Christ-centered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities It is our desire that by bringing Sam to Montgomery County, we will be influencing positive changes to the way we view people with mental health conditions and living the mission of our ministry."
For more information about Lucania, visit his website www.samanthonyspeaks.com, and to learn more about Cross Over Ministries visit their website at www.crossovernfp.com.