NatCon21 Solutions Guide

Page 1



TABLE OF CONTENTS NatCon21 Sponsors....................................................................................................................................................................2 Kaiser Permanente.....................................................................................................................................................................4 Answering the Call: Greater Investment in Youth Wellbeing.................................................................................5 Relias.................................................................................................................................................................................................6 A Roadmap to the Ideal Crisis System.............................................................................................................................7 NatCon21 Exhibitors ..................................................................................................................................................................8 Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Minds...................................................................................................................................9 CCBHC Success Center............................................................................................................................................................10 Pave a Path to CCBHC Success...........................................................................................................................................11 Janssen Neuroscience..............................................................................................................................................................12 Acacia Network............................................................................................................................................................................13 innovaTel Telepsychiatry..........................................................................................................................................................14 Mental Health First Aid is “CPR for the Mind”...............................................................................................................15 Cerner...............................................................................................................................................................................................16 Neurocrine Biosciences............................................................................................................................................................17 Netsmart..........................................................................................................................................................................................18 Understand and Address ACEs............................................................................................................................................19 National Council Partners.......................................................................................................................................................20 Genoa Healthcare........................................................................................................................................................................21 Cohen Veterans Network........................................................................................................................................................22 Overcoming the Trauma of COVID-19 with “Resiliencing”......................................................................................23 MTM Services................................................................................................................................................................................24 The Social Connection Cure for Older Adults...............................................................................................................25 Ability Network............................................................................................................................................................................26 Managing Your Mental Health: A Gen Z Perspective.................................................................................................27 University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.......................................................................................................27 Otsuka...............................................................................................................................................................................................28 Alkermes..........................................................................................................................................................................................30 Recovery Homes Build a Following...................................................................................................................................31 Hill Day.............................................................................................................................................................................................32 National Council TV...................................................................................................................................................................34 National Council Consulting Team......................................................................................................................................36

NATCON21 • 3



ANSWERING THE CALL Greater Investment in Youth Wellbeing Opportunity, exploration and rapid growth abound during adolescence and young adulthood, but transition to adulthood is also a critical time when we can identify, prevent and intervene in emerging mental health and substance use issues that risk becoming persistent and pressing problems. In response to early data indicating that COVID-19 is exacerbating challenges to youth wellness, the National Council for Behavioral Health has amplified its efforts to improve mental wellbeing in youth and young adults across the U.S. Specifically, through the Youth Wellbeing Cohort, a collection of four initiatives working across multiple settings, partnerships and diverse communities: • Facilitating Change for Excellence in SBIRT (FaCES): An initiative funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to develop an evidence-informed, standardized approach to adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) implementation in primary care. • CONNECTED: A two-year initiative designed to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide among BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other young people, ages 10-24, in underserved communities. • teen Mental Health First Aid: Evidence-based training brought to the U.S. by the National Council and supported by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. The training teaches teens in grades 10 to 12, or ages 15 to 18, how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges and crisis among their friends. • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Substance Use Prevention: The National Council is working to assess prevention messaging related to youth substance use during COVID-19, as well as empower youth-serving providers to initiate conversations that effectively prevent substance use. Do you want to better engage young people to reduce depression, suicide and substance use in your community? Learn more about our initiatives and how you can help set youth up for success.

NATCON21 • 5



A ROADMAP TO THE IDEAL CRISIS SYSTEM A new report from the Committee on Psychiatry and the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP) — “Roadmap to the Ideal Crisis System” — outlines the steps we must take before the launch of 9-8-8 to ensure people in crisis receive the high-quality mental health and substance use services they need. The groundbreaking report, distributed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, offers a detailed vision for communities that are creating mental health crisis systems to guide this important work. A mental health crisis system is more than a single program. It is an organized set of structures, processes and services that are in place to meet all types of urgent and emerging mental health crisis needs in a defined population or community, effectively and efficiently. The first-of-its-kind report illustrates how vital it is to design and implement a mental health crisis system and demonstrates how a community’s response must be fully integrated with the treatment system. This comprehensive new report is a vital resource for any community that is planning its crisis system. With 9-8-8 fast approaching, it’s time to begin the work to plan, design and implement that system of care so the resources are in place when people call for help.

NATCON21 • 7



HEALTHY WORKPLACES, HEALTHY MINDS More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it has changed how we work, shop, socialize and learn. Some of us are working from home, while others are commuting into the office. Even with vaccines and easing restrictions, there is no denying that feelings of stress and anxiety remain high. That’s why it’s critical for employers to make mental health a priority. They can start by providing their staff the tools to support one another and take care of their own mental wellbeing. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) — a skills-based training course – can help with that. MHFA at Work teaches employers how to create a mentally healthy workplace where individuals feel valued, supported and respected. Just ask SMP’s wellness director, Nikki Reynolds. “SMP offered MHFA at Work training on February 13, 2020, and the timing was fortuitous,” she said. “The workshop built a foundation for ongoing, critical mental health conversations in response to COVID-19. It is imperative to communicate clearly about the virus, the associated stress and fear, the importance of self-care and knowing when to seek professional support.” MHFA at Work teaches employees how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge in a peer, including how to help them connect to appropriate employee resources if needed. Employees also learn how to manage stress and take care of their own mental health with key self-care strategies, which is more important than ever. As your workplace navigates COVID-19 and transitions into a “new normal,” make mental health a priority with MHFA at Work. Like Nikki was for her SMP workforce, you can #BeTheDifference for your employees. Visit MHFA.org or email MHFAatWork@TheNationalCouncil.org to learn more.

NATCON21 • 9



PAVE A PATH TO CCBHC SUCCESS Every day across the country, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model is providing clinics with resources and support to change lives, strengthen communities and transform how we approach mental health and substance use treatment. Interested in becoming a CCBHC? Want to maximize your impact as one? Our new CCBHC Success Center is a one-stop shop for CCBHC education and implementation support. Together with our network of partners, we can help you maximize your impact in the following ways: • Current and prospective CCBHCs: Whether you are a new or existing CCBHC, the National Council consulting team and partner consultants, such as MTM services, are ready to help you meet the necessary requirements. We offer a range of services to meet your needs, from one-on-one personalized coaching to in-person or virtual training, covering topics such as CCBHC readiness and start up, meeting the CCBHC criteria – such as implementing evidence-based practices and access to care requirements, data management and reporting – and understanding financing models and sustainability. •

State behavioral health associations: State associations of behavioral health providers can plan a key role in driving CCBHC implementation in demonstration and non-demonstration states alike. The National Council offers support to our member associations seeking to advance the CCBHC model in their states, including education and training, supporting advocacy efforts or strategic planning.

State government officials or policy makers: The National Council offers information and technical assistance to states interested in pursuing the model or learning more about the CCBHC experience in other states. We can provide education and training on the model and implementation, facilitate peer connections or assist in strategic planning.

With its ability to align financing to the most effective clinical model of care –and provide sustainability for providers into the future — the CCBHC model is spreading swiftly across the nation. Learn how you can take advantage today — visit our CCBHC Success Center to get started. Questions? Contact us!

NATCON21 • 11





MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID IS “CPR FOR THE MIND” We’ve all heard of CPR. Because of it, many of us know what to do if someone is having difficulty breathing or if their heart stops. But do you know what to do if someone around you is having a panic attack or suicidal thoughts? That’s what Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a skills-based training course, is for. Just like CPR teaches you how to help someone who is having a heart attack, MHFA teaches you how to help someone experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. You learn risk factors and warning signs of mental health and substance use concerns, strategies for how to help people in crisis and non-crisis situations, where to turn for help and so much more. You can also take a course that’s specific to the people in your life. MHFA offers tailored courses that meet the needs of specific populations, including adults, youth, teens, public safety, fire/EMS, veterans and the workplace. Some courses are available virtually, as well as in person. Mental health problems are common MHFA participants learn about concerns that affect everyone in some way, shape or form — mental health challenges like depression and anxiety, substance use challenges, trauma, psychosis, suicidal thoughts and behaviors and more. Every year, one in five American adults is affected by a mental health problem. In fact, mental health challenges are more common than heart disease, lung disease and cancer combined! This means it’s very likely you or someone around you will experience a mental health issue. And you can help with MHFA. You learn an action plan When you take a MHFA course, you learn not only how to recognize warning signs of a mental health crisis, but how to respond with the MHFA Action Plan (ALGEE). Sometimes professional and other support services are not available in a crisis. When that happens, First Aiders can assist the person in an effective and safe way to get appropriate help and support. ALGEE stands for: • Assess for risk of suicide or harm. • Listen nonjudgmentally. • Give reassurance and information. • Encourage appropriate professional help. • Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

NATCON21 • 15



Many people with mental health problems do not seek help or delay seeking help According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2019, only 44.8% of people who had a mental illness received mental health services in the previous year. This number is even lower (38.9%) for young adults ages 18-25 with a mental illness. Even when people decide to get help, it’s frequently after many years of waiting and putting it off. The longer a person waits to seek help, the more difficult their recovery can be. But research shows that people with mental health problems are more likely to seek help if someone close to them suggests it. That could be you. You can be the difference for someone considering suicide In the U.S., someone dies by suicide every 12.3 minutes. And for every suicide, 25 more people attempt it. Every day, 140 people across the country die of a drug overdose, 91 of them due to opioids. Mental illness and substance use challenges are taking lives every day, making it more important than ever to be trained in MHFA. With the right information and skills, you could respond to someone who is struggling and help them get the support they need. If you are already trained in MHFA, thank you. If you are not, please visit MHFA.org to find a local MHFA course so you can #BeTheDifference for those who needs you.

NATCON21 • 17



THE PANDEMIC ILLUSTRATES HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO UNDERSTAND AND ADDRESS ACES The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the health and welfare of so many people, and it seems no one is immune from the fear, isolation or economic anxiety caused by this historic public health crisis. The mental health of young people represents a unique concern that requires attention. In a recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63% of 18-to-24-year-olds reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 25% reporting increased substance use to deal with that stress and 25% saying they had seriously considered suicide. One year into the ACEs Aware grant, a state-led initiative under California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, MD, we know more than ever about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress on young people. We know ACEs describe 10 categories of adversities in three domains — abuse, neglect and household challenges – experienced by the time a person reaches 18 years old. We know 62% of California residents have experienced at least one ACE and 16% have experienced four or more ACEs, using 2011-2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data. And we know ACEs can present life-long implications for a person’s health and welfare. Perhaps more importantly, we also know how important it is for clinicians to treat ACEs and toxic stress as early as possible because it can present life-long implications for a person’s health and welfare. If medical professionals are unable to diagnose and treat conditions that surface at an early age, children are likely to suffer from them throughout their lives. “What the data tells us is that early detection and early intervention improves outcomes,” California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, MD, said in a recent interview. That’s because ACEs and toxic stress can change the way the brain develops and functions, contributing to increased risk of chronic diseases — including diabetes, cancer and stroke — as well as substance use, suicide and other injury and violence-related outcomes.

NATCON21 • 19



“Because children’s brains and bodies are still developing, the impact of the adversity and the trauma that they are experiencing … as a result of the pandemic has an outsized effect on their development,” Dr. Burke Harris said. “It actually can impact brain development and increase the risk for long-term mental health and physical health.” Many states are beginning to make progress in efforts to raise awareness, improve treatment and improve clinical outcomes. Last year, the National Council provided detailed guidance on trauma-informed care in primary care settings, emphasizing the importance of screening for trauma. A new report released by the California surgeon general, “Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress and Health,” urges communities to improve the health of young people by engaging numerous resources in a community — health care, public health, social services, early childhood, education and justice. So much great work is being done to understand ACEs and implement strategies to help those affected by trauma. But the pandemic serves as a cruel reminder that our work must continue if we hope to make a difference in people’s lives.



OVERCOMING THE TRAUMA OF COVID-19 WITH “RESILIENCING” We are currently in the midst of a culmination of historical events in real-time through a national experience of complex trauma, a global pandemic, worldwide demonstrations and civil unrest and a push for social justice and reform. As a result, many of us are in a state of alert, living much of the time in our lower, survival brain. Staff are worried about their safety, their jobs, how to care for children and whether they or their family members will be affected. The emotional impact of this experience on ourselves and our staff depends on individual characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of their family and their community. Our individual responses may be similar to what we might see in those who have lived through other traumas such as combat, assault or hurricanes. Those who respond more strongly to the stress of this crisis may be individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, those who feel targeted and physicians, health care providers and first responders who are helping with the response to COVID-19. Building resilience in the workforce is key to adapting to these challenges. The good news is that there is opportunity in crisis. Over the past year, I have found myself repeatedly drawn to the idea of moving past the concept of resilience — the capacity to anticipate, prepare and adapt to disruptions — to more active participation. I want to propose wide adoption of the term resiliencing. Resiliencing is a verb instead of a noun, that comes to us from biology and cellular research, first coined toward human potential by Zhike Lei, PhD, in 2017, and described in the Graziadio Business Review. Resiliencing is a focus that involves anticipating problems, improvising quickly to cope with adverse events and learning from them over time, every time. Resiliencing challenges us to understand crisis as an ever-changing, emergent, dynamic phenomenon, rather than a discrete, static one. It recognizes that crisis is never a sudden, one-time event. That as humans we encounter our own bias to dismiss the early signs of fatigue and turmoil. The goal is to surface a problem early and continuously before it mushrooms into crisis. A resiliencing mindset activates and retains both realism and vision, we have the ability to foster hope while being realistic about the path ahead. Often what isn’t working is just as important as what is — this is how we learn and grow. The good news is that there is opportunity in crisis. Throughout the history of the human race, times of crisis have always heightened the opportunity to bring out the best in us. Thousands of us are acting with compassion and cooperation daily. Acknowledging and celebrating each other’s resiliencing capacity in these moments will allow us to emerge even stronger as a collective humanity.

NATCON21 • 23



THE SOCIAL CONNECTION CURE FOR OLDER ADULTS We know ensuring that older adults are engaged with physical and emotional health care can make a positive impact on their overall functioning and health. It turns out that social connection can be just as vital to improving health outcomes and extending an older adult’s life expectancy. This is especially critical because older adults are at higher risk of social isolation and loneliness. Social isolation is the condition of total or near-total absence of contact between an individual and society and loneliness is the subjective experience when a person has an unpleasant feeling of being empty, alone, disconnected or unwanted. Former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called social isolation and loneliness an epidemic in the United States and likens the negative impact on lifespan and health status to that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Social isolation and loneliness are more powerful than the impact of obesity or substance use and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, dementia, falls and hospitalizations, anxiety, depression, sleep difficulty, suicidality, self-injury and other problems. The body physically reacts to loneliness in the same way it does to trauma or chronic stress; inflammation builds in the cells, which, when prolonged, becomes a major detriment to overall health and can cause premature death. It creates a feedback loop between the body and the brain, sending messages that makes the person irritable, suspicious, prone to negative emotions and fearful of meeting new people and making new friends. The good news is that if social connection is improved, social isolation and loneliness are thwarted, and health outcomes can be improved. Research shows that while physical and mental health issues can put a person at risk for loneliness and isolation, they are independent of health status, meaning that whether or not a person is healthy, those who are more socially connected live longer. This gives reason to enhance connectedness to others. Health care initiatives like the Togetherness Program initiative aim to combat the epidemic of loneliness, especially among older adults, through weekly phone calls, home visits and community programs. Warmlines, visiting and volunteer services have shown to be effective with older adults, as has engagement with community and social groups. Cohousing is on the rise to intentionally bring older and younger adults together in shared communities of single-family homes or larger apartment buildings where they share dining, laundry and recreational spaces. Robotic and other pets allow older adults to feel companionship and combat loneliness. These are common and innovative methods provide connectedness for older adults that can eradicate social isolation and loneliness and cure avoidable illnesses or premature death. Older adults can live longer, healthier and more connected lives.

NATCON21 • 25



MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH A Gen-Z Perspective COVID-19 affects us all differently. While there’s no escaping the impacts of this pandemic, affords us an opportunity to learn more about its repercussions on different populations, like today’s youth. We sat down to talk with Jazmin Carpenter, 22, a CONNECTED youth influencer and recent college graduate, to get her thoughts on how the pandemic has impacted her. What’s it like being a Gen-Zer during this pandemic? “It’s weird! I would say from my perspective, it’s easier, considering I’m part of a significantly lower-risk population than those who are older or possess other health issues. I can also stay connected with friends and family via the internet, and I know that may be more difficult for older generations who aren’t as familiar with technology. On the other hand, I’ve never seen something like this before. I just recently graduated, so I haven’t had much time to be in the ‘real world’ before things began to change.”

NATCON21 • 27



How has COVID-19 impacted your mental and emotional wellbeing? “I feel like I’m in some sort of weird limbo where my daily life isn’t too affected, but I’m aware of what else is happening in the world. It’s scary and hard to wrap my head around. Coping with this sudden and unknown change is difficult, as is visualizing what this will mean for the long-term future. Plus, I work in emergency management, so I am seeing the frontline efforts to combat this virus in my area, and it can be a bit overwhelming.” Do you feel like you’re getting the support you need? “I believe I am. I think people should know that many people my age are struggling in very unique ways right now. I am privileged to be able to keep my job, but I know others are being let go while still trying to pay off their student loans or obligated to work in less-safe conditions. In my age group, there’s a feeling that we need to ‘start getting it all together,’ but that, in a way, is paused because of COVID-19, and people may be retreating into themselves. My advice to parents and others: Reach out to them – it will do more good than harm!” How is the CONNECTED program helping you during this time? “It’s been lovely seeing a program adapt — with so much compassion and respect — to the different experiences within this group of youth influencers. Getting to hear from others has been inspiring and is a great motivator. It’s also nice to hear from my peers in a meaningful way.” What are you doing to keep your mental health strong at this time? “I’m using this extra time to stay productive in more personal ways. I meet with a new therapist weekly over video chat, and I’ve been organizing stuff that I’ve been putting off in my apartment. I’ve also been trying out new meal recipes, and I’m spending a lot of quality time with my kitty, Maple, and my partner who I live with. I’ve also been playing the new Animal Crossing game, which has been really fun. When I have enough energy, I’ll take a walk outside and explore my neighborhood a bit more. I just got a new bike, so I’ve tried out a couple rides around my area.” Managing your mental wellness is critical, especially during this pandemic. Have any tips you can share with your peers? “Don’t set your expectations for yourself super-high at this time. It is okay if you are just getting through each day! To keep your mind a bit uplifted, step outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes, or try to do some art, cook a meal or complete a task that will make you feel somewhat productive and present. And try to keep in touch with your loved ones! They need you and you need them.” To reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide among under-served youth ages 10 to 24, the National Council, in partnership with Change Matrix, Relias, Watauga Consulting, Youth MOVE National and MPHI, launched CONNECTED, a groundbreaking two-year initiative.

NATCON21 • 29



RECOVERY HOMES BUILD A FOLLOWING But There’s Plenty of Room to Grow Korey McCreery knows exactly how much time he spent in a recovery home. “Thirteen months and one day,” he said. He also knows spending more than a year at the Canton, Ohio, home operated by Phoenix Recovery Support Services did much more than keep his alcohol and substance use challenges under control. It kept him alive. “If it wasn’t for the clean, safe, sober living environment provided by the recovery house, I would not be talking to you today,” McCreery said. “The recovery house helped save my life.”

Korey McCreery (center, holding helmet), COO at Phoenix Recovery Support Services, in Canton, Ohio, poses with a group of military veterans from the program’s intensive outpatient program residence at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Stories of recovery like McCreery’s are less common than they should be because widespread adoption of the recovery housing model among state governments remains elusive. The homes — peer-run or peer-managed drug and alcohol-free supportive housing for people in recovery from substance use disorders (SUD) — have slowly gained traction in the US as a crucial element of treatment and recovery because they help residents access outpatient treatment and peer support services. While people in recovery can voluntarily choose to live in recovery housing, many end up in the homes after receiving a referral from a treatment provider or the criminal justice system. “Some states really get it,” said Dave Sheridan, executive director of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR), which establishes standards for recovery homes and works with state agencies to ensure those homes are recognized by state health departments. “If a state agency understands they need to support treatment and recovery through support for recovery homes, that helps people in recovery. But some states are behind the curve and have yet to adopt this more expansive vision to support recovery.” Sheridan and a group of others — including the National Council’s Tom Hill — began their efforts to formalize standards for recovery homes 10 years ago, at a meeting in Atlanta in May 2010. They were motivated by the

NATCON21 • 31



firm belief that people in recovery had too few options, which in turn led them to experience relapses, recidivism and other life-threatening pitfalls. They were also motivated by the understanding that substance use challenges are a chronic condition that require long-term treatment. Relying on short-term inpatient care does not allow a person to overcome a substance use challenge, Hill said. “The growth in the number of recovery homes in the U.S. matches the realization that this is a necessary service,” he said. In states including Ohio, West Virginia and Oklahoma, state health directors understand the value recovery homes provide to people and communities. The National Council — in partnership with NARR — has prepared an extensive resource, “Building Recovery: State Policy Guide for Supporting Recovery Housing,” to help states develop the policies to ensure development of recovery housing. Ohio officials embraced recovery homes soon after a 2013 study demonstrated the demand the homes would meet. Elected officials in the state approved formal language in 2016 to define recovery housing and established a requirement that communities include the homes in required community plans as a way of responding to the opioid crisis. The state also has leveraged both federal and state resources to support recovery homes, providing funding that covers everything from planning and construction or renovation, to operational and technical costs. That funding also provides support for Ohio Recovery Housing, the non-profit group that certifies recovery homes and is a NARR affiliate. Few states have had such a progressive response. “We have a long way to go,” said Danielle Gray, executive director of Ohio Recovery Housing. “But every time I talk to people in other states, I realize how lucky we are. We have made so much progress in Ohio.” In 2017, 93 certified recovery houses in Ohio had 1,012 clients. Today, 225 certified recovery houses in the state have 2,076 clients. In Ohio, as in other states, the number of people who would benefit from a recovery home far exceeds the space to accommodate people in recovery. “There’s more demand than available housing,” Gray said. With the nation’s opioid crisis surging — overdoses and overdose deaths are on the rise — demand continues to grow. “These homes support recovery,” said Mike Maddox, director of the Oklahoma Alliance for Recovery Residences, which formed this year and affiliated with NARR. Oklahoma’s nascent support for recovery housing has received a big boost from the state’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, which has set aside $500,000 for vouchers to subsidize housing costs for clients, and the number of recovery homes in Oklahoma will grow from seven at the

NATCON21 • 33



beginning of October to 21 — with an estimated 450 residents — by the end of the month as Maddox races to license homes throughout the state. “Inpatient treatment alone is not the answer. There should be a continuation of services once inpatient treatment is completed — recovery housing and outpatient treatment,” Maddox said. “Levels of care are vital to recovery. Our state has helped us legitimize recovery housing, and now we’re trying to make sure we have them throughout Oklahoma because there’s a huge need.” And NARR continues its efforts to increase the number of licensed recovery homes nationwide. Estimates vary widely, but one study published this year in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly determined there are 17,943 recovery homes in the country. But the absence of a single, agreed-upon national standard for recovery home standards and oversight means the number of homes varies depending on which organization is doing the counting. The study counts 1,470 homes affiliated with NARR. Intervention America, a California-based drug and alcohol treatment resource that publishes a directory of recovery homes, includes more than 14,000 residences. The discrepancy illustrates the problem with an absence of standards and conflicting criteria about what constitutes a recovery home, Sheridan said. What’s more important, is the number of people who rely on the recovery homes. Just 1.2% of people with a substance use challenges use recovery homes, according to the authors of the study published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, despite the finding that “recovery homes are an important and widespread posttreatment recovery resource.” Recovery homes also have proved crucial for people who don’t require treatment, Sheridan said, which demonstrates that there are many pathways that lead people in recovery to the homes. The winding path McCreery took began with a litany of arrests and culminated in the understanding that he had to commit to his recovery or risk more time in incarceration. “I said to myself ‘you’re not going to make it in prison’,” he recalled. “I knew I needed to find a way not to drink.” When he left the program in 2010, he emerged with first-hand knowledge of the value of the homes and the programs they provide people in recovery. Now, he delivers that message every day because McCreery, a former recovery home resident, serves as the chief operating office at Phoenix Recovery Support Services. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the peer services provided by the recovery house,” he said. “Recovery happens in these homes.”

NATCON21 • 35