The Recovery Education Center

Expressing Emotions Through Art Helps in Recovery

At RHA Behavioral Health in High Point, NC, facilitators in the REC Center’s Creative Arts Group assisted participants with expressing emotions through art. They learned to connect their emotions and thoughts to colors, patterns, textures, and images. Some of the artwork created in the recovery class is personal and others have a theme. Most recently, participants were guided through an activity to help them process events in the area such as the devastation of hurricanes Matthew and Florence. They also discussed the aftermath of 9/11-how they were personally affected, and how their communities responded.

Darkness Turns to Light

Through art, they were given the opportunity to show what they all concluded: Darkness Turns to Light. In the panels on the left, participants chose color palettes and patterns to reflect what their storms (“Darkness”) look and feel like. They demonstrate turmoil, hate, destruction, chaos, devastation, loss, battles, hurricanes, tornados, and anything else that a storm can bring. The results of these storms can be physical, mental, financial, and emotional. They are painful.

The Light That Comes After the Darkness is Healing

In the panels on the right, participants chose color palettes and patterns to reflect what the aftermath of their storms (“Light”) looks and feels like. Specifically, they wanted to show the light that can come from darkness. These panels represent unity, peace, community, love, rebuilding, rising from the destruction, support, serenity, and gratitude. Surviving life’s storms can renew a person, a family, and a community. The light that comes after the storm is healing.

The contrasting colors and styles of design display the contrasting emotions and thoughts the participants experienced during and after recent storms, literally and metaphorically. By focusing on the light that comes after the darkness, participants have re-defined what it means to be survivors.

Written by Marissa Salvitti, NCCPSS
Recovery Education Center Class Facilitator
High Point Walk-In and Wellness Center

The RHA Recovery Education Center (REC) offers information, treatment and empowerment to people with mental health and substance use challenges. It provides an educational environment built around five key recovery concepts: hope, personal responsibility, self management education, and self-advocacy support. 

Learn more about our Outpatient Based Services below:

Outpatient Based Services

Alamance County “Steps Up”

There has been a sea change in the way police interact with people experiencing mental illness.

In his four decades in law enforcement Kirk Puckett, Director of Community Relations for the Alamance County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Department, has seen a sea change in the way that police interact with people who have mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. “It used to be that police had two options, either arrest that person and take them to jail or send them to the emergency department if they didn’t violate the law,” he said. “Many times we may not even have recognized the person had a mental illness.”

“Every time that a law enforcement officer brings someone in and helps them get connected to services instead of taking them to jail, we’ve done a good thing”, says Sara Huffman, Clinical Director for RHA Health Services which is the county’s crisis service contractor.

Using funding from a JMHCP grant, Alamance County was able to expand the reach of its Stepping Up initiative to include increasing the number of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)-trained police officers as well as providing mental health first-aid training to detention and court staff, expanding a co-responder pilot program, and establishing a 24-hour diversion center. “We’re not treating people short term, we’re treating them for the long term,” says Puckett.

Since starting the Alamance County Stepping Up, more than 200 police officers have been CIT trained and more than 300 officers have received mental health first-aid training. information sharing has increased across behavioral health and criminal justice agencies, strengthening the collaboration between law enforcement and behavioral health.

To read the entire article and view the video:

 

 

 

Project Alcopop Sticker Shock!

Teens mitigate underage alcohol sales by calling-out alcopops.

On September 22nd  at Eblen Short Stop in Fairview, NC, RHA Prevention Youth staff, Hannah Bruce and Ada Holt, planned and participated in Project Alcopop Sticker Shock! as part of the North Carolina Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative. At this event teens placed warning “stop sign” stickers on the lids and cases of alcopops. Alcopops are fruity, malt flavored alcoholic beverages, which are popular among youth. Alcopops often taste and resemble soda, juice and energy drinks, and aren’t bitter like beer or wine. Examples include Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Hard Ciders.

Because of their sweet flavor and low cost, alcopops are marketed to youth.

The warning stickers placed on the alcopops remind adults to check IDs, not sell alcohol to minors and not purchase alcohol for minors. This project gives youth the opportunity to take responsibility and hold adults responsible.

Ada and Hannah’s prevention efforts got national attention. Online news site, The Take Out, wrote an article on the event titled “NC: Teens tag North Carolina stores’ ‘alcopops’ with red warning stickers.” This article was then shared by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

This article makes one thing very clear: youth are powerful and their message is being heard.

The NABCA is asking RHA youth to back down. The article states “…if [this project] turns into a statewide or national movement, [alcohol] companies might step in to politely request these kids save their stickers for their trapper keepers.” As a way to prevent negative press, alcohol companies are intimidating youth. The NACBA sees youth-led public health campaigns as a threat.

RHA Prevention youth staff are not anti-alcohol, we are anti-underage drinking. This project isn’t about drawing attention to the alcohol industry. This project is to educate adults in our community. Youth want it known that ninety percent of people before the age of 21 are drinking alcohol; furthermore, youth who start drinking before age 15 are 4x’s more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21.  Youth know their responsibility and are reminding adults of theirs.

This article was written by Hannah Bruce, Youth Prevention Specialist & Heather Daniels, Prevention Specialist 1

https://www.nabca.org/sites/default/files/assets/files/2018DNU/DNU_SEPT_25_018.pdf to read the original article covered by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

NC Governor Roy Cooper Appoints RHA’s Jerry Wease to Commission

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Congratulations to Jerry Wease on his appointment by Governor Roy Cooper to the N.C. Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Jerry has been with the RHA ACT Team in Rutherford County for 4 years.  Two years ago he was promoted to Team Leader and has done an excellent job leading his staff in the service of the people they support.

Wease is a NAMI member and has earned certification as a LPC, LCAS, CSI, and NCC. After graduating at the top of his class from Gardner-Webb University with his MA/Ed.S in Mental Health Counseling, Jerry has provided clinical services and advocacy in many roles across the state from enhanced treatment services, clinical supervision, community advocacy, and teaching at the university level.

Jerry has worked with adolescents and adults with mental health and substance use disorders and primarily endorses a cognitive behavioral approach. Jerry believes that recovery is possible for individuals, families, and communities.

In his spare time Jerry enjoys volunteering, singing, animals, and sitting on the porch with a good book and a cup of coffee.

Thanks for your service not only to our community, but also to our state.

RHA is a Community Sponsor of the Blue Ridge Recovery Rally

RHA Health Services is proud to be a community sponsor of the second annual Blue Ridge Recovery Rally. The event is Saturday May 19th in Downtown Marion NC from 5 to 9pm.   All are welcome to this free family friendly atmosphere.  Activities include a walk and a 5K run, music and art, and guest speakers and recovery stories.

Communities across the country are struggling with addiction to substances such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and opioids.  The Blue Ridge Recovery Rally will celebrate, educate, and initiate positive change as we work together to build healthier communities.  Our goal at RHA Health Services is to help each person we support to understand their addictive disease and to establish a commitment to recovery.

Other community partners for the Blue Ridge Recovery Rally include, Vaya Health, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, the City of Marion PD, A Caring Alternatives, The McDowell County Sheriffs Department, Freedom Life, Celebrate Recovery, Mission Hospital, and US Cellular.

For more information about the rally call 828-559-2224 or email info@freedomlifeministries.org.

RHA‘s Julie Huneycutt appointed to Senate Opioid Council

Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) announced the N.C. Senate appointment of Julie Huneycutt, a Hendersonville resident, to the state’s Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Drug Convictions.

Huneycutt will work with the attorney general, secretary of Health and Human Services, secretary of Public Safety, chief deputy secretary of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, and executive director of the N.C. Sentencing and Advisory Commission to study the modification of current statute and how to recognize those convicted of opiate related crimes who would be able to successfully reintegrate into society.

“It is no surprise to those who know the work she has done in our community that Julie was selected to serve on this task force,” Edwards said. “The opioid drug epidemic effects everyone and every area of our state. Julie has been fighting for education and prevention for years. Her appointment to this task force strengthens the voice of our district in Raleigh and ensures that those best qualified are fighting to understand this epidemic.

“Julie will no doubt be very influential in this role, and each member of this task force will see her passion for this subject. I am grateful that Julie is willing to serve our area in such an important capacity to help make a difference and I was delighted to able to recommend her for this position.”

Huneycutt has been advocating against opioid and prescription drug abuse for many years. She attended N.C. State University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Reading Education. She also attended classes at Duke University, receiving her Prevention Coordinator Certification.

In 2014, Huneycutt became the director of HopeRx, Henderson County’s coalition to address prescription drug abuse and prevention. She also co-founded Anna’s Hope, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of prescription drug abuse.
She is an appointee to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and speaks regionally on issues surrounding prescription drug abuse. The Task Force on Sentencing Reform for Opioid Drug Convictions was created this year in House Bill 464. This task force will utilize those with extensive backgrounds and experience dealing with the opioid epidemic to better understand addicts and those convicted of related crimes.

Julie Huneycutt who has been with RHA since 2015 says, “We are confident that our footprint of prevention in Henderson County is contributing to awareness about this epidemic and is creating a platform to reduce the misuse of prescription, over the counter, and other illicit drugs through diversion and safe medication events, as well as public forums, and education in our schools. Our coalition continues to build a very strong partnership and is in full collaboration with local law enforcement, City and County Government, the Department of Public Health, City and County Schools, both area Hospitals, non-profit community clinics, EMS and Fire Departments as well as faith-based organizations, those with lived experience and community members.”

visit us online at www.hope-rx.org or on our Facebook page, HopeRx, Henderson County.

Lindsay Carver Stockman of RHA Honored as Advocate of the Year by CADCA

Lindsay Carver Stockman, CSAPC has been chosen to receive an Advocate of the Year award during Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 28th Annual National Leadership Forum.

The CADCA honors leaders who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure legislative victories for the substance abuse prevention field. Lindsay is employed by RHA Prevention Resource Center as The Buncombe County Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator and Coordinator for The Partnership for Substance Free Youth in Buncombe County. She is a great asset to the RHA Health Services family and we are very proud of her many accomplishments.

The award will be presented on Thursday, February 8, 2018 during the
National Leadership Awards Luncheon at the Gaylord National Hotel in
National Harbor, MD. CADCA Public Policy Associate, Nikki Semenza, says
“We cannot express how thankful we are for your help to garner support
for all of the areas of interest to CADCA and the substance abuse
prevention field. You are always willing to go the extra mile and your
efforts have made a tremendous impact on our field.”

Lindsay attended The University of North Carolina-Asheville and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Wellness Promotion and from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Academy in 2012. She was awarded one of the Top 40 Under 40 Young Professionals in Asheville in 2012. Lindsay was elected to the North Carolina Prevention Providers Association in 2013, which is a state board that acts as a liaison between Prevention Providers and the NC State Prevention Department. In 2014 she was elected to the Executive Committee and continues to serve as a Western Region Representative for Prevention in 2014

Lindsay is married to husband Michael and lives in Hickory NC with their dog Bailey.

For more information about CADCA, visit www.cadca.org

RHA SAIOP Team Holds National Recovery Month Event

On Monday, September 11, 2017, the Burlington RHA SAIOP team held an event to simultaneously recognize September as National Recovery Month and the successful completion by three individuals of the SAIOP program. Every September SAMHSA sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. As reported on the SAMHSA website; “Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.” Cole Shaughnessy, CSAC, CPSS, SAIOP facilitator, and Nancy Baraks, LCSW, LCAS, SAIOP team lead hosted the event inviting SAIOP alumni, Alcoholics Anonymous representative Jeff Palmer, and RHA service provider representatives to speak. RHA providers Vanessa Tribble, LCSW, Peer Support and Beverly Jones, LPC, LCASA, outpatient therapist, were asked to provide information on step-down service lines such as Peer Support Services and Substance Use group. Harvey Bryant, CSACA, Peer Support Specialist provided a personal message of support and encouragement to those on their recovery journey. Jeff Palmer shared his recovery story and information on the 12 step program as a continued support in the recovery community. The honored graduates from SAIOP are (pictured left to right) Elizabeth Valines, Cole Shaughnessy, CSAC, CPSS, Cheryl Harrell, and Rachel Smith. We encourage all to recognize and support those who continue their recovery journey and those who support and serve these individuals during this month.

The Opioid Crisis: One community fights back.

The opioid epidemic facing our country, state, and local neighborhoods is proving to be an extraordinary opponent, but the community stakeholders in New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are rising to the call and fighting back.

RHA has had the opportunity over the past several months to participate in a multitude of initiatives to combat this health crisis and we are honored to work alongside a host of others dedicated to serving. Projects such as the LEAD project, the Quick Response Team pilot, medication drop off sites, and community forums are designed to make a difference in the lives of those affected by opiate misuse.

Whether it is first responders, city or county officials, educators, or behavioral health providers, everyone comes to the table as an equal partner possessing knowledge, expertise, and compassion with a common goal of making a difference.

Leaders in this effort include professionals and citizens who have looked past artificial boundaries and are banding together around several strategies aimed at creating a healthier, more informed community. SEAHEC is leading the charge with increasing awareness and educating the public through pulling people from all layers of community groups.

This story is all about the team work we have experienced and the solutions we have produced as a group. I personally have been humbled by everyone’s willingness to come to the table asking the question “How can I help? How can I serve?”  -Kathy Smith, Ph.D. Chief Operating Officer, RHA Health Services, Behavioral Health

Opioid Task Force
L-R Front Travis Robinson, Molly Daughtry, Deb Vuocolo, Kathy Smith, Olivia Herdon, Tony McEwen; Back Kenny House, Antonio Roper, Mitch Cunningham (Robert Childs not pictured)

Read the entire article

DHHS awards grant to Vaya Health for pilot program with RHA and Mission Health in Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A $2.3 million grant from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to Vaya Health will help ensure people with mental health or addiction disorders receive proper outpatient care and avoid repeated trips to the hospital.

DHHS awarded grant funds to Vaya Health, a managed healthcare organization serving Western North Carolina, to fund the pilot program in conjunction with Mission Health and RHA Health Services. The initiative will provide comprehensive case management for people utilizing Mission’s emergency department for behavioral health needs, as well as women who are pregnant and using drugs or alcohol, and link them to community services and supports.

“Too often, people don’t connect with routine outpatient care that can prevent a behavioral health issue from becoming a crisis,” said RHA CEO Gordon J. Simmons. “In addition to RHA programs in neighboring counties, C3356 offers 24-hour behavioral health urgent care, counseling, medication management, substance use treatment and peer support services. These programs promote personal recovery and help prevent future crises.”

Nearly 600 people seek care for behavioral health needs at Mission’s ED every month. Some individuals needing psychiatric inpatient treatment wait at the ED for more than three days before a bed becomes available. Repeated visits are also becoming more problematic, with 230 individuals making a total of 770 visits during six months in 2016.

“We hope that over time we’ll reduce the use of the emergency department for those visits that are not necessary that can be addressed at a different level of care,” Vaya Health CEO Brian Ingraham said.

The program is expected to begin in July.

Vaya Health original News release_WNC initiative to promote mental health, reduce ED use