Sojourner Recovery Services receives Lifeline accreditation

HAMILTON, OH, March 9, 2020 – Sojourner Recovery Services is pleased to announce it has received Lifeline accreditation through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The accreditation means local residents who contact the national Suicide Prevention Hotline will be better connected to local professionals who can help connect them to local services more quickly.

“This is really exciting,” said Colleen Chamberlain, executive director of the Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren & Clinton Counties, which funds the hotline service provided by Sojourner. “More local residents who use the national suicide hotline will learn much faster what’s available to them locally. That can mean fewer lost lives and faster treatment.”

Jillane Holland of Sojourner Recovery Services says the accreditation means calls will start immediately.

“When a person calls the national lifeline number, 800-273-8255, their call is routed to the nearest Lifeline network crisis center. They can then talk with a skilled and trained worker who will listen and provide support, then link the caller to local help.”

Sojourner’s Crisis Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and handles nearly 300 crisis calls each month.

About Sojourner Recovery Services

Sojourner Recovery Services is a comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction treatment and mental health service provider. Founded in 1984, Sojourner’s team of licensed professional work each day to improve the lives of the people they serve to save lives, foster hope and strengthen families. Sojourner is funded in part by the Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren & Clinton Counties.

About MHRBWCC

Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren & Clinton Counties (MHRBWCC) is the local board of mental health and addiction services for residents of Warren and Clinton Counties. MHRBWCC plans, funds, monitors, and evaluates services and programs provided by various agencies that care for residents living with mental health and addiction issues. For more information, visit mhrbwcc.org.

Announcing Our New Facility at Eaton!

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Sojourner is proud to announce a new women’s residential facility in Eaton, Ohio!

Check out the following video featuring our new facility.

Successful Open House Event

On October 20th, Sojourner held a widely-attended open house for the new facility.  The center will open for services this December.

The new facility boasts a 24/7 staff. It can host up to 16 women at a time.

New Facility to Help Curb Epidemic

2016 has been a peak year for the heroin epidemic. Cincinnati has definitely been one of the hardest hit cities in the U.S.

We are excited to open this new facility. Each facility that we open helps to lower substance abuse rates, both locally and nationwide.

The new treatment center in Eaton will play a key role in fighting the epidemic.

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Sojourner and Transitional Living Merge

 

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Sojourner Recovery Services is excited and proud to announce we are merging with Transitional Living, Inc., Butler County’s premier community mental health provider. Both nonprofit organizations have over 30 years of experience, so the merged organization will truly be a behavioral health powerhouse in Butler County.

While this merger has many benefits, it most importantly allows Sojourner and Transitional Living to better serve the people of the Butler County region. Today, many people who suffer from addiction also suffer from mental illness (as previously mentioned in this post). Thus, through Sojourner and Transitional Living joining forces, we will have the ability to provide more comprehensive services to this overlapping population, giving them all the tools essential for their recovery.

The newly merged organization will be structured as a parent company with two separate subsidiaries. This form maintains Sojourner and Transitional Living as two individual organizations who will maintain their expertise and brand identity. The newly formed parent company, Community Health Alliance, will take on back-office and community outreach duties for both subsidiary organizations.

Scott Gehring, current CEO of Sojourner, has been named the CEO/President of Community Health Alliance.

This is an exciting time for both agencies, and we look forward to the future of collaborating in serving our community.

 

Mental Health Levy Passes!

 

On last week’s Election Day the people of Butler County voted to pass the Mental Health Renewal Levy! Issue 5 passed without much opposition with 72% of voters in favor.

Mental Health Levy

The passing of the Mental Health Renewal Levy ensures that current funding for mental health services in Butler County continues. According to the Butler County Mental Health Levy, in FY 2014 various Butler County mental health programs served 10,500 people. One portion of these mental health programs are residential services, which helped provide a home for 500 people in 2015. Finally, 100 youths were served by mental health programs geared specifically towards the needs of adolescents. It’s clear the levy funds benefit a large number of people!

Which is appropriate, because a large number of people in the nation have a mental illness. In the United States in 2014, 43.6 million adults — 18.1% of the population — suffered from a mental illness of some sort (reported in SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health). Amazingly, in Ohio, over half of the mental illness population did not receive any mental health treatment/counseling (according to SAMHSA’s 2015 Behavioral Health Barometer for 2015). Over half — that, right there, is why it was so essential for the Butler County Mental Health Renewal Levy to pass. Continuing funding for mental health programs allows more people to receive treatment, which in turn allows these people to live happier, healthier lives.

Here at Sojourner, we are working to treat those with mental health illnesses. Many of our clients who are suffering from substance abuse are also suffering from a mental health illness of some sort. This is known as a co-occurring disorder. According to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.9 million people in the United States suffer from both substance abuse disorder and mental illness. The two are often interconnected. So in our treatment facilities we implement both substance abuse treatment services and mental health treatment services. After all, we believe in treating the whole person, not just their alcohol or drug addiction.

So great job Butler County! You are helping to save lives in this community!

The Opposite of Addiction

 

Many people struggle to truly understand the disease of addiction.

In the video below, “Everything You Think You Know about Addiction is Wrong,” Johann Hari takes a new approach in discussing addiction. Check it out.

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”

Maybe the key to treating addiction is not shutting those who are suffering out, not cutting them off. Maybe the key is addressing their addiction and teaching them the skills to become productive, contributing members of society.

This is the core of Sojourner’s Mission, Vision, and Beliefs. This is what we strive to do every single day.

Drug Abuse in the Long Run

 

Drug abuse is a major problem all across the nation. It’s undeniable and unavoidable. Ohio — especially Butler County — is no exception to this fatal trend. In 2014 alone, the Butler County Coroner’s Office reported 137 deaths by overdose. Seventy-five percent of these deaths were heroin-related.

Over the past several years, Butler County has been proactive in its response to the heroin epidemic. Contributing to this effort, Sojourner has been responding to the needs of the community by opening additional residential facilities and expanding treatment services. We are doing our best to get people out of active substance abuse and into active recovery.

Yet, it is becoming evident that the negative health effects of substance abuse can last long after a person is in recovery. When using drugs, people often share needles, which causes a single needle to enter into multiple people’s bloodstreams and can lead to the spread of transmittable diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV. If an infected person uses a needle, everybody who uses the needle after this person risks also becoming infected. It’s easy to see the danger this poses for those within the community of drug addiction. However, these diseases can also be spread through bodily fluids, meaning transmission can occur through sexual activity with someone who is infected. Meaning an infected woman can pass it on to any children she gives birth to. Meaning even those who have never abused injectable drugs are susceptible to these transmittable diseases.

Focusing on three states bordering Ohio (West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana), USA Today reported on the increased prevalence of transmittable diseases in relation to the increased rate of drug use. It’s no surprise these diseases are becoming more widespread as the heroin epidemic continues. In West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, acute hepatitis B rose 114% between the years of 2009 and 2013, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis B is a transmittable liver infection that can eventually result in cirrhosis or liver cancer. Furthermore, in Scott County, Indiana there were 185 cases of HIV in 2015 — the most in Indiana history. HIV is a transmittable, incurable disease that attacks the immune system. If hepatitis B and HIV are becoming prevalent in our neighboring states, there’s no doubt it’s happening here in Ohio too.

It’s clear that action must be taken to prevent the spread of hepatitis and HIV. Unfortunately, it is not always as straightforward as not sharing needles and intimate contact with someone who is infected. In many cases, people who have hepatitis or HIV don’t show symptoms until several years after they have contracted the disease. Thus, a person with hepatitis or HIV may not even be aware they have it. So to avoid contracting transmittable diseases, always act with a “better safe than sorry” state of mind. Several actions should be taken to minimize the spread of transmittable diseases:

  • People who are using injectable drugs should always use a clean needle. Although it is not available in Hamilton, many cities (including Cincinnati) offer a needle exchange program, where people can exchange their dirty needles for clean ones.
  • Use a condom during any sort of sexual activity.
  • Get the hepatitis B vaccination. A one-time vaccination prevents the contraction of the disease.

Although it is possible to minimize the spreading of hepatitis and HIV, there is no cure for those who are already infected. The heroin epidemic has already led these diseases to leave notable, long-lasting impressions on the people of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. Even if the national crisis of drug abuse tapers off, the HIV and hepatitis are going to stick around for the long run. This is something that will affect future generations. The heroin epidemic is not something that is just going to pass through — it is going to leave death, disease, and destruction in its wake.

This is why substance abuse treatment, prevention, and education is critical.