Staff members at the new home of A Center 4 Change on Tom T. Hall Boulevard joined Olive Hill Area Chamber of Commerce officials Saturday morning for a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by tours of the new outreach clinic.
Earlier in the week, A Center 4 Change employees sat with Chamber officials for a lunch session at the Olive Hill Historical Society’s Tea Room, which included personal and professional testimonies about the mental health organization’s dedication to individual client care.
It was a first time visit to Olive Hill for many of the A Center 4 Change employees, all of whom seemed especially impressed with the lunch from downtown business Tyler’s Pizza.
The outreach clinic is one of two properties being opened by A Center 4 Change, along with “Jenkie’s Journey” a residential facility for women.
The story below was originally published by Carter County Post, September 25, 2020.
The people at A Center 4 Change and Jenkie’s Journey are trying to let the community know what they do, and don’t do, at their clinics in Carter County – including a new recovery center and an outpatient clinic set to open soon in Olive Hill.
“It is not a methadone or suboxone clinic. It is a behavioral health service organization that treats both mental health and addiction disorders,” said Kieara Judd, a Certified Social Worker who will serve as the program’s administrator.
Medically Assisted Treatment
She explained clients do have the option of using different medications as part of their individual recovery program, with pharmaceutical options also including antidepressants or mood stabilizers, as well as Vivitrol, which causes extremely unpleasant side effects if the client ingests drugs or alcohol.
Every aspect of their operations are “highly regulated” and follow strict treatment standards, including peer review and policy compliance with CARF accreditation – “the gold standard.”
“Medically assisted treatment – It’s one tool in the toolbox. It’s not everything,” said Licensed Psychological Practitioner and Clinical Director Nicolette “Nicki” Lowe. The clinical based treatment utilizes multiple components of other well-established recovery programs.
Residential Substance Abuse Program
The “Jenkie’s Journey” program will be centered on a 28-acre property with the first Amish-built structure called Stafford House. Judd, along with Lowe, noted both are named for local people whose lives had an impact upon themselves and others.
Between the two of them, their daily duties will include therapy with individuals and groups, classes, court concerns and agency referrals – among others.
“Basically what it is, is a residential women’s substance abuse program,” Judd said, explaining the program “tries to treat the whole person,” including often-related challenges including mental health conditions.
Stafford House will open with a staff of eight, working with eight women in recovery. The program will eventually be expanded to house a maximum of up to 24 women, and plans for a men’s shelter are in place for the future.
Clients will stay at Stafford House between 30 and 180 days, with “a lot of time for family” in an atmosphere which also provides a support system to help resolve family conflicts. There are no bars on the windows and outside contact is encouraged.
“We want to help them be amazing mothers and daughters,” Lowe said.
The phrase “We meet people where they are” is repeated often during a talk with Judd and Lowe as they discussed the ways people find their own paths to sobriety. The journey often begins when a person has “hit rock bottom” or has “a moment of clarity” about their addiction.
“Sometimes they will express ‘It’s just too big’ or ‘If I don’t do this now, I’m going to die,’” Lowe offered.
“These are people who need help. They are not worthless, dirty addicts or junkies. Society tends to stigmatize and dehumanize people who have addictions,” Judd added.
Anyone who needs help with mental health issues or addiction recovery is encouraged to call (606-780-1111 or 606-928-5116, 606-475-0334), or walk into one of the A Center 4 Change facilities in Grayson, Morehead, Ashland, and Russell as well as the soon to open space in Olive Hill and simply say, “I need to talk to somebody.”
A Center For Change also provides services including help with children, couples and family counseling, grief and depression, PTSD and DUI assessments, as well as make connections with community resources.
Services are billed “in network” as well as via Medicare and Medicaid, or clients can self pay based on a sliding scale according to income.
“It’s not about money for us. That’s not our first priority. We won’t turn anyone away because they can’t pay,” Judd said.
Photos by TIM PRESTON
Carter County Post