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Home » Substance Misuse and Suicide Prevention » Erasing the Stigma Around Addiction and Suicide

There is a mental health and addiction crisis in this country. No longer can we sweep it under the rug or speak in hushed tones because of the stigma. The time for answers is now, so we spoke with Dr. Rachel Docekal, CEO of Hanley Foundation, whose mission is to eliminate addiction through prevention, advocacy, treatment, and recovery support.

Dr. Rachel Docekal

CEO, Hanley Foundation

How is the Hanley Foundation making a difference? 

We are saving lives and changing outcomes. It starts with education. We empower youth to live with the courage to make healthy choices. Our prevention team provides evidence-based programming across Florida, teaching kids the importance of delaying their first use of alcohol to reduce their risk of future problems. 

Addiction affects the brain, which develops until the age of 25. By raising awareness, we are positively influencing attitudes and creating better outcomes.

It seems there’s a cookie cutter approach to recovery, how is Hanley Foundation doing things differently?

The one-size-fits-all approach to treatment has been proven to be ineffective. Successful treatment must be highly individualized to meet the unique needs of each person. We offer a holistic approach to each individual’s recovery journey focusing on the well-being of mind, body, and spirit. 

We also provide career development tools, housing resources and other wrap-around services to ensure people who complete treatment can lead productive and fulfilling lives.

How is Hanley Foundation changing the conversation around mental health?

It is a serious problem. No matter your background or profession, anyone can struggle with mental health issues. When it escalates, they often find comfort in alcohol and drugs. And when that doesn’t help, they may contemplate or take their life by suicide. 

Suicide is preventable, and through the Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) program, we provide training to help companies and individuals understand the warning signs, address the challenges, and find help. 

To learn more, visit

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