It has become sadly apparent over the last few years that ours is not quite the happy society we proclaim it to be. Mental health issues and substance abuse that can lead to the last thing any of us want, suicide, is clearly on the rise. The good thing though is that the stigmas of old are coming crashing down and talking from my British perspective, we’re no longer doing the stoic thing, invoking the stiff upper lip. We are talking instead. Men and women alike are no longer hiding in the shadows until the demons become too much, but are being honest and open about their feelings and emotions and are actively seeking help and advice.
And we’re not talking extremes here, even if you do not suffer from clinical depression or are what is technically deemed to be an addict, we all have those moments. The day where no matter how much the sun is shining you just cannot get yourself out of bed and the words just go round and round and round in an endless loop, where you know that doing one small thing will make you feel better, but even then it’s impossible. Or the bad day on the boat, at the office or at home when we automatically reach for whatever our crutch of choice is, just to take the edge off. I know, I for one, am guilty of this.
Sat here in Club de Mar surrounded by boats and beers and so much wealth, founder of EMA Enrique Balasch Torres in conjunction with INSTITUTO HIPÓCRATES and Jeremy Hance say that it is not surprising where we have ended up given the world we live in, and in an even more pointed sense, the industry we find ourselves in. In yachting long hours, stressful situations and a big work hard play hard mentality abound. Both ex-addicts themselves they know only too well the pitfalls and how easy it is to find yourself spiralling into the darkness. Interestingly they both press on one point, they say that if you want the greatest high, try sobriety. It may sound like an oxymoron but Enrique says that if you can rid yourself of the shackles of addiction, then the ability to feel free and able to do anything that you want is so utterly liberating that it enables you to see life with a clarity, honesty and intensity like nothing else. That it is why with their form of group therapy they have such an impressive success rate. They say you can try it and if you don’t like it you can go back. But no-one goes back.
As discussed by NIDA, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, for much of the last century, scientists studying drug abuse worked in the shadow of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When scientists began studying addictive behavior in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs, in all their forms, were thought to lack morals and willpower. These points of view were moulded by society’s responses to drug abuse, treating it more as a moral failure than as a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punishment rather than prevention and treatment. Today however, thanks to science, our points of view and our responses to addiction and other disorders caused by substance use have changed dramatically. Innovative discoveries about the brain have revolutionised our understanding of compulsive drug use, which allows us to address the problem effectively.
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects the brain and our resulting behaviour. We have identified many of the biological and environmental factors and we are beginning to investigate the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Scientists use this knowledge to develop effective prevention approaches and treatments that reduces the negative impact that drug abuse causes to individuals, families and communities.
This is where Jeremy, Enrique and Marta come in. They have set up EMA Entorno de Soporte Terapeutico a professional group therapy support group in English. They are gathering every Wednesday in Portals Nous and the sessions are open to anyone, in yachting or not, who is struggling with life, addiction, mental instability or can see themselves heading in that direction. Everything discussed within the group is completely confidential and all they ask is that you send them a whatsapp message beforehand so that they have an idea of numbers.
There are also many future plans, one of which is that they are looking at setting up educational sessions for those in charge of their crew’s wellbeing so that they are better able to read the warning signs and offer the right kind of support at the right time, before any real damage is done.
They say that the process is not an easy one, but they believe that with the right support and the right vision and approach via treatment and prevention, rather than punishment, we can start to turn the tide on mental health and addiction and hopefully prevent any more of the terrible tragedies that we’ve all experienced recently. To quote another fantastic support group on the island, who EMA are now working with, Life is indeed for living!!
Every Wednesday 6:45pm
Portals de Yoga
Carretera Andratx 43
Whatsapp +34 608 418 863
Enrique Balasch Torres
Therapist at EMA and Instituto Hipocrates Mallorca
Specialist in the treatment of addictions to substances
Experience: Former recovered addict with many years of experience conducting group therapy at Instituto Hipocrates.
Marta de la Cruz
Specialist in the treatment of addictions at the Instituto Hipocrates
Specialist in floral therapy applied to emotional processes
Psychosocial analyst in freelosophy
Experience: Psychologist for EMA with 3 years of experience treating patients at Instituto Hippocrates Mallorca. More than 10 years of experience as a clinical psychologist in different areas and more than 20 years in the area of qualitative market research with a psychosocial approach.
Engineer and captain, recovered with Instituto Hipocrates a year and a half ago.
Promoter of the group in Portals Nous.