Within the past year or two, a new vision in the mental health and addiction recovery field has emerged, which is overwhelmingly positive and oriented toward recovery. At the Ohio Adolescent Health Conference, attendees were introduced to the Ohio Youth Led Prevention Network which is focused on 40 developmental assets and a positive approach, a peer-led focus on youth-as resources, and key leaders in resolving issues and modeling personal power and self esteem. For example, if 68% of teens drink alcohol weekly (or at parties); 32% do not! and that’s something to hold up. If 18% are feeling suicidal, 82% are not! and that’s something to be proud of- as an example.
Another positive model is through the Ohio Empowerment Coalition, Inc. which promotes peer supporter training, advocacy and consumer operated service sustainability. This approach combats stigma, and connects peers with each other and a supporting network. The supporting network includes advocates, counselors, coaches, mentors, educators, and support specialists in an inspirational way. The entire peer support approach realizes that ‘recovery is a journey, not a destination’ and is unique in every individual. CPS Certified Peer Supporters build trust and connection which contribute significantly to a treatment strategy and avoid stigmatizing a patient. There is evidence for peer support in helping to reduce hospitalizations to psychiatric and recovery facilities. Peer support has been a central feature of AA. You are not going it alone!
A recovery-oriented system of care is focused on change as a process- with services oriented around the recovery, and recovery maintenance. How that looks is to see prevention, recovery, and wellness as a continuum of services which offer integrated care. It has a focus on choice, accessibility, managing one’s own care and supporting each individual’s rights in the least restrictive settings. In a recovery-oriented system of care, you are not dealing with difficult to access, faceless bureaucrats who make getting care difficult or impossible, follow-up non-existent, and stigma at any stage of the process, a far greater likelihood.
The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities are promoting the slogan, ‘Treatment Works and People Recover’- which ties in with SAMHSA goals. In another positive focus, MHA-FC Mental Health America, is actively campaigning against stigma-the derogatory labels used in defining those with mental health disorders. ‘Stop the crazy talk’ urges people not to use terms like, ‘nuts’. A most positive outcome of the new paradigm is a systemic approach working with families and the broader community setting which an individual is nested within. By using a client-centered focus, long term wellness is most certainly a greater probability.
A client-centered focus is intensive, deliberate, and affirmative. For example, the systemic wellness approach is much broader than the photo of a broadly smiling woman who took a magic pill/cocktail of pharmaceuticals- as in advertising approaches of old, and far more apt to lead to long-term more robust outcomes in a multi-disciplinary problem-solution comprehensive treatment approach. Still, change is a matter of process.
At Pomegranate Health Systems, in evaluating residential client satisfaction surveys, for example, ninety-eight percent feel the nurses keep them well-informed about medication. Guess where staff attention gets focused at the monthly quality meeting? It is focused on the .76% who did not agree (1.24% didn’t answer). If the 47th child answering the survey gave dietary a slightly lower rating because we didn’t serve enough curly fries (the dietician is shaking her head), the CEO will discuss it and bring it to client rights meeting for discussion and a vote. These results represent well over 100 surveys and cover all aspects of care from dietary to therapy to boundaries. For today, this is something to smile about, and raise our coffee to all those who care so much.
For this reason, at the January All Staff sessions at all 3 shifts, our last point was the importance of ‘positive’ in a world (or a unit with aggressive, volatile, anxious teens) where it could be all too easy to be like the Saturday night character, ‘Debbie Downer’, who always had the worst possible outlook. The energy of one individual, a group, a wing, a team, the building are very real. Our motto is healing, hope and resilience. We’re bearers of that. We ‘get it’ and in the face of challenges, affirm recovery is possible.
Babies remember images associated with positive emotion. http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/11/the-basic-emotion-that-makes-infants-remember-what-theyve-seen.php
“Atoms are driven by consciousness. In proximity to love, they move in harmonious collaboration with other atoms. When in proximity to fear, they become disharmonious and chaotic. We choose each moment the energy that surrounds us.” Marianne Williamson post- January 22nd, 2015.
[photo credit: Dreamstime]