RHA Offers Two New Behavioral Health Locations in North Carolina

RHA recently opened two new behavioral health locations offering substance use services in Fayetteville and Jacksonville, North Carolina.

The Fayetteville and Jacksonville behavioral health locations both include RHA’s Hilltop Comprehensive Substance Use Services program, and offer an array of services, including comprehensive clinical assessments, substance abuse intensive outpatient treatment, and medication management. Additional services may be added in the future.

“We are excited about these programs because they offer us another way to assist the people in these specific communities with substance use disorders,” said program manager Kiersten Jones. “Our clinical staff has over 25 years of experience in the field working with adolescents, active duty service members, family members, and veterans. We have staff that is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and other areas of need, which can be of great benefit for people in addressing both their traumas, and their substance use diagnosis.”

Staff involved with the new program have expressed excitement for the potential benefits these services will offer to the community, and individuals struggling with a substance use diagnosis.

“We believe that both counties are in need of additional services, based on statistics from the 2019 Cumberland County Health Assessment, and the 2019 Onslow County State of the County Health report. Substance use/abuse services are needed for a community health improvement plan,” said Jones.

If you or someone you know is living in Cumberland or Onslow county and is in need of substance use treatment, please call or visit one of our new locations:

Fayetteville Office
1014 Hay Street
Fayetteville, NC 28305
Office: 910-900-3100

Jacksonville Office
1300 Gum Branch Road Suite A
Jacksonville, NC 28540
Office: 910-968-4100

RHA’s Peer Support Services Empower People in Recovery to Help Others

Ethel A. and Tanya S. graduated from substance use programs at RHA – now they work for RHA in North Carolina helping others in recovery.

At RHA, Peer Support is an important part of our substance use services. Our Peer Support Specialists are people with lived experience who have graduated from recovery courses and gone on to receive specialized training in how to support others in recovery.

While Peer Support is not a required element of programs like SAIOP at RHA, most people elect to participate.

“Since embedding Peer Support into SAIOP our success rates and our graduation rates have absolutely skyrocketed,” said Cole S., who leads the Alamance, NC SAIOP Peer Support Team. “Our [Peer Support Specialists] provide an added layer of support of people in recovery. They’re more available than a counselor, they meet with you on a weekly basis, and they provide that sort of warm handhold that gives people the confidence to go to recovery groups or participate in other recovery-oriented activities that might otherwise seem intimidating.”

Cole has worked with many people who have gone on to become Peer Support Specialists themselves. One of those people is Ethel.

Ethel was a Peer Support Specialist with RHA for four years until her recent promotion to Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor. Before that, though, Ethel was a client seeking services with RHA.

“I actually participated in SAIOP [at RHA] three times,” said Ethel. “I was unsuccessful the first two times, but the third time I was in treatment, with the support of my Peer Support Specialist, Cole, I was successful.”

After graduating from SAIOP, Ethel returned to RHA in a job as a Peer Support Specialist, where she went on to work with many people in recovery—one of whom was Tanya.

“I think my experience in SAIOP at RHA absolutely saved my life. I learned a lot about myself, how to cope with my traumas, and about the disease of addiction… and I enjoyed my time in peer support so much that it inspired me to go into this field once I graduated.” said Tanya.

Although Tanya has only been a Peer Support Specialist with RHA for a few months so far, she reports that the work has had a huge impact on her personally.

“This role is impactful. I am reminded every single day of the exact place I was in, and that means a lot to me. I know how hard it is, I know how difficult life seems in early recovery. I can see myself in [the people I support]. It’s rewarding for me, because I understand, and I can offer them hope that the things they’re going through won’t last forever.” said Tanya.

Ethel echoed Tanya’s sentiment.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to give back what was given to me. There’s something special about peer support and working one-on-one with somebody and watching their growth. I tell people that all the time. Like, with Tanya and others who I’ve worked with who are now successful, to know that you really made a difference [in their recovery] is incredible. You come in hoping that you can do that, but to actually see it, it’s just indescribable.”

Sara H., a Behavioral Health Regional Director with RHA in NC, reports that the team has been great for the community.

“Working with the Alamance Substance Use team is a true honor. They strive to guarantee strong recovery principles and aptitude within our agency and community, and Ethel and Tanya are a cornerstone of this team…”

Ethel, Tanya, and Cole are just a few of the incredible team members helping people in recovery every single day. If you’re interested in Peer Supported Services, or RHA’s other Behavioral Health programs, please visit https://rhahealthservices.org/behavioral-health-services/ to learn more.

Thank you to Ethel, Tanya, and Cole for sharing their experiences and for all the incredible work they do every day!

A Way Out of the Darkness: Wilmington Substance Use Services Testimonial

The journey to recovery is unique to every person, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to support. Below, one participant in RHA’s SAIOP substance use services in Wilmington, NC, shares their recovery experience:

March 24, 2021, may seem like a normal day for the majority of people but for me it was the first day of my journey to recovery and sobriety. I spent three years in a vicious cycle of drug use that controlled my life. I was unable to save myself from the hold that heroin had on me. I struggled to take back my life. Throughout the last year of my addiction I was searching for a way out of the darkness of addiction and back into the light, but I was unable to find the help I needed.

In the beginning of March I overdosed, and it took six doses of Narcan to bring me back to the world. It took me days to process this, but it made it clear I needed to find help to overcome my addiction. I finally moved back into my family’s home and they began to help me search for ways to get me help. I was in withdrawal and two days later I was checked into The Harbor detox facility in Wilmington run by RHA Behavioral Health Services.

After I finished my stay at The Harbor and went for further treatment at RHA I went into SAIOP at RHA, and they have truly changed my life. Through group sessions you are able to find your way back into control of your life and talk openly with like-minded individuals for the support needed to maintain your sobriety. RHA has guided me through one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life. They are continuing to guide and support me through sobriety.

RHA has many different ways to support a recovering addict. They have doctors to help with medication maintenance and counselors for group and one on one sessions. They are able to assist addicts in ways an addict may not know that they need. The employees of RHA are the most amazing people. Without RHA I would have never made it to four months sober, and have the tools necessary to help me maintain my sobriety to make it through my first year and many more years to come!

group therapy for substance use


What is SAIOP?

RHA offers Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Services (SAIOP) to people struggling with addiction to substances such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and opioids. This program is offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for three hours a day. Most of our sites offer morning and evening groups to better meet your needs. SAIOP provides you with the opportunity to participate in group therapy, drug screening, education, and development of healthy coping skills. Our goal is to help you live a healthy life without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Learn more about RHA’s mental health and substance use services in Wilmington.

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.

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.

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