MultiCare and partners mark National Recovery Month
September is National Recovery Month, a time to increase awareness of mental health and substance use disorders.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that as many as 20 million adults in the United States have substance use disorders (SUD). One-third of this population also suffers from co-occurring mental health illnesses such as depression or anxiety.
Throughout September, MultiCare joins Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal public health agency, to celebrate SUD recovery and the commitment to health and wellness.
National Recovery Month also promotes the critical need to address mental health and other medical conditions as a vital part of treatment for SUD. This treatment philosophy is fully embraced and employed across MultiCare's extensive behavioral health network.
"Studies show that you have significantly better health outcomes when clinicians can identify and address the underlying issues associated with addiction — whether it is emotional or physical pain," notes Robert Hamilton, MultiCare's substance use disorder manager. "We approach each patient's substance use disorder as a 'bio-psycho-social disease.' That means that every patient receives a comprehensive assessment that doesn't just focus solely on substance use. Our team also considers other socio-economic conditions that may impact a person’s mental or physical health, such as housing, nutrition or employment."
Collaborative approach is key to recovery success
The MultiCare Behavioral Health Network offers a full spectrum of outpatient mental health services in clinics, hospitals and specialty centers throughout Pierce and King counties. Partnerships with both Navos, a leading King County-based mental health organization and Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare, in southern Pierce County, bring extraordinary access and coordination of services for patients seeking SUD treatment.
“The person-centered approach to SUD treatment at all three affiliated organizations means that we engage each patient as a whole person, not a diagnosis," adds Hamilton. "Our goal is to meet them where they are right now and work together to set specific personal goals for positive, healthy behavioral changes. What that looks like is different for every individual."
Coordinated care for SUD treatment across MultiCare's affiliates
The integrated care model for SUD treatment is central to MultiCare's ongoing behavioral health community partnerships. Navos locations offer patients a full range of clinical services for SUD, mental health and physical health. This three-pronged approach is considered vital in helping patients make significant life changes that aid their successful recovery.
"Removing any roadblocks to seeking SUD treatment is at the very core of our program," says Jerome Walters, who manages the co-occurring disorder program for Navos. "Seeking SUD treatment can be an impulse type of decision for many people. Having immediate access to different levels of care means that a patient can walk into our building without an appointment and end up getting all of their needs met right in the same building."
Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare also regards the person-centered, holistic approach as an essential aspect of all mental health and SUD services.
“This is each client’s recovery journey,” explains Lynne Pla, director of Adult Outpatient, SUD and Residential Services at Greater Lakes. “Our highly tailored treatment programs reflect an honest, respectful and collaborative process that engages and empowers clients.”
Community peer support inspires and sustains client recovery
“Our certified peer support professionals are an important part of our mission and are integrated throughout our mental health and SUD services,” says Shelly Shor, MD, clinical manager at Adult Outpatient Services and manager of Peer Support Services. “Our patients receive a lot of ongoing help and support from people who have gotten through similar experiences. We find this especially meaningful once the client is back in a community that may not have the supportive services they need, like affordable housing,” she adds.
Ongoing challenges to SUD beyond National Recovery Month
Like the rest of the United States, Washington has seen an explosion in the number of residents impacted by the current opioid crisis. The dramatic spike for the need for SUD treatment impacts already stretched state resources.
"Our area reflects the growing national trend of a shortage of well-trained substance abuse counselors to serve this population," says Walters.
"There is still a big stigma attached to behavioral health, which often prevents people from taking action with SUD treatment,” adds Hamilton. "MultiCare SUD providers and our affiliates are constantly evaluating ways to lower that barrier to reach patients who desperately need our services."
Learn morethe MultiCare Rockwood Behavioral Health Center.
About The Author
Freelance writer Jean Hanavan Kelly has a Master of Science in Health Communications and a background in promoting health literacy to help people navigate our ever-changing, increasingly complex health care environment. More stories by this author