Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program

RHA Behavioral Health is home to a nationally recognized program of behavioral health services for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.  This year alone we have provided consultation to the states of Georgia, Wisconsin, and Minnesota on service delivery and program development for services to this population.  The RHA Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program is presenting at BreakOut, the only national Mental Health and Deafness conference in the nation, later this year.

RHA Health Services Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program

The RHA DHH Program began with a Coastal Care contract in the Wilmington area in 2010.  Smoky Mountain Center (SMC) soon followed suit, contracting with RHA to serve the western part of the state in 2011. OPC (Orange, Person and Chatham Area Program contract) was added to the SMC contract in 2012. Alliance contracted with RHA in 2013, making the DHH program statewide.

RHA  Health Services was granted a contract with the State Division of Mental Health to administer the DHH program.  Initially, the contract was for $1.4 million. The contract grew to $1.6 million in the fiscal year 2018 and additional staff positions were added throughout the year.

There are a total of nineteen positions within the RHA DHH program; ten licensed clinical therapists, including two licensed psychologists, six outreach consultant coordinators, one business manager, one administrative support person and one director.  All are fluent in both English and American Sign Language.  Most of the team is Deaf or hard of hearing.  DHH staff is located in offices or can be available to see consumers in Asheville, Lenoir, Charlotte, High Point, Burlington, Raleigh, Lumberton, Fayetteville, Wilson, New Bern and Wilmington.  In addition, polycom services are available throughout the state with Deaf and hard of hearing consumers connecting with clinicians from the location nearest to them through polycom.

RHA Behavioral Health’s DHH Services include comprehensive clinical assessment, case coordination and consultation, mental health and substance abuse counseling and therapy, outreach, as well as education and referral services.  During this fiscal year, Peer Support Services have been added at three locations.  Additionally, a statewide online video NA meeting for the deaf has been launched.

Regardless of the type of behavioral health services needed by someone who is Deaf or hard of hearing, DHH staff can provide assistance with determining communication needs, finding resources related to hearing loss, and assessing the cultural impact of deafness on treatment.  No matter the type of program you work in or services you provide, if you are serving someone with hearing loss, the DHH program can serve you!  Contact us with any question or concerns you might have.

Remember, anyone can contact the DHH program to refer consumers or request information or consultation – and we encourage you to do so!

Watch our Brief Video overview about the DHH program

Linda Harrington, LCSW, Director 919.825.2869  [email protected]
Lindsey Gray, Business Manager  919.518.9293  [email protected]

Team RHA Gives Back

RHA Health Services Gives Back 2018 Hurricane FlorenceWilmington, NC – In September, Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina with enough wind speed to uproot trees and cause widespread power outages throughout the Carolinas. It also caused flooding along a long stretch of the North Carolina coast, from New Bern to Wilmington. Most major roads and highways in the area experienced some flooding, with large stretches of I-40, I-95, and US Route 70 remaining impassable for days after the storm had passed. The city of Wilmington was cut off entirely from the rest of the mainland by floodwaters. That’s where Operation BBQ Relief comes in.

During the aftermath, John Gibbons, RHA Director of Case Management-CAP (Community Alternative Program Services) donated a day to working with Operation BBQ Relief and The American Red Cross. They delivered meals to the hard-hit city of Wilmington, NC. Most of the food was donated by Smithfield’s Foods who provided a dozen 18-wheelers on site.

John left his home near Raleigh at 4 AM and arrived in Wilmington at 6 AM. He helped with all aspects including loading the cooker with meat, seasoning/saucing the meat, and packaging containers to send off with delivery runners to the community. They served 14,400 plates on this day but had serviced over 266,000 plates that week! John said, “It was an incredible experience to serve that community.” And his work did not go unnoticed.

“The employees in our company were blown away by your willingness to give of your time and talent for our hurting city. You never cease to amaze us! Thanks for all you do!”
-Pattie Weaver-Griglock
Personal Product Advisor Wilmington Medical Supply

“Good afternoon everyone! I just wanted to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to John Gibbons, Director of Case management for RHA Health Services. He is with a group of volunteers cooking and serving thousands of hot lunches and dinners today in Wilmington! His group has been waiting for two weeks to come and serve our community. It is inspiring to see a member of an agency that we serve, come and give his time to give back to our city in this time of distress. Thanks John for all that you and your group are doing! We truly appreciate it!”
-Tom J. Grazioso
Director of Inside Sales, Incontinence Division/Wilmington

Operation BBQ Relief was founded in May 2011 in response to a need for relief efforts in tornado-stricken Joplin, Missouri. Volunteers from competition BBQ teams from eight states answered the need to help feed displaced families, police, fire, National Guard and emergency personnel. Operation BBQ Relief continues to respond to natural disasters.

RHA Health Services Gives Back 2018 Hurricane Florence

Read more to learn about Operation BBQ Relief and RHA’s Giving Back >>>

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 in North Carolina

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 [email protected]

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.