Mental Health Essential Heroes

“Mental Health is Essential Health!”

What Alvis Has to Offer…

Alvis offers two behavioral health service programs: Amethyst and Recovery Choices.

Amethyst is our program for women with and without children seeking addiction, mental health, and trauma-related treatment, family services, supportive housing, and job readiness and placement. What makes the Amethyst program distinct from other treatment programs for women is the fact that it allows women to live with their children, and it specifically works to reunite and strengthen families. Amethyst takes walk-ins, and women are able to go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street if they are seeking assistance.

Recovery Choices was created to provide behavioral healthcare services to individuals with justice involvement. Clients receive transportation from halfway houses to reentry centers, where they take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family. Behavioral health treatment services include:

· Individualized assessment and treatment

· Group counseling

· Cognitive-behavioral therapy

· Medication-assisted treatment (through a partnership with CompDrug)

· Relapse prevention and aftercare

Women in Alvis’ residential reentry programs and in treatment at Recovery Choices may eventually transition to Amethyst to support their long-term recovery.

Thank you, essential mental health and recovery heroes, for your outstanding 24/7 service and support!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month!

Some Statistics…

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a charitable foundation focused on improving the well-being of American children, in 2018, 424,653 children were in foster care in the US. Childtrends.org defines this as, “a living arrangement for children who a child protective services worker and a court has decided cannot live safely at home.” This source also states that, in 2017, one in three children entered foster care because of parental drug abuse. “Without a caring, loving parent, the statistics about orphans indicate that they are at great risk to crime and homelessness. They don’t graduate from high school or have the ability to attend or succeed in college. Many become teen parents, are under-employed, and lack the skills to build strong relationships and have their own healthy families. These kids are at risk to those who hustle sex for hire, traffickers, extremists and others who prey on the kid’s vulnerabilities,” (kidsave.org). Foster care is a positive service, but it should be used in conjunction with families, not as a replacement. In 2017, the state of Ohio saw one of the largest increases in children entering foster care due to parental drug abuse. April Dirks, an associate professor of social work at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says, “unfortunately the foster care system is overburdened—there’s not enough families, not enough services. If they’re going to remove the children, the best thing would be immediately treating the parent.” Dirk believes in specialized programs that provide supervised treatment instead of incarceration for people with substance use or mental health issues. These courts can provide parents with the support they need to recover from their addiction and regain custody of their children, (npr.org).

How Alvis Can Help…

Alvis is one such program. Here we bring families together instead of splitting them apart. The Family and Children’s Program serves children and their mothers, with the end goal of bringing families together that have been affected by substance abuse and parental involvement in the criminal justice system. The Family and Children’s Program consists of two components. The first is educational, and the second is in-person contact. Mothers receive parenting education and training. They are taught effective communication and discipline strategies, they learn how to set appropriate boundaries, and they receive guidance to help them understand basic parental responsibilities. Additional community support services are offered for all clients to complement their treatment plans.

These services are also extended to foster guardians caring for children of mothers undergoing treatment.

Moms are then given the opportunity to demonstrate their new skills in part two of the program, during which they are given the opportunity to connect with their children. They write letters, poems and make crafts for their children, which Alvis mails to help maintain the mother-child connection during their stay at Alvis. The mothers also have the opportunity to visit with their children twice each month, every first and third Saturday. Clients come together for a healthy meal, while spending time with their families. Research shows that families who eat meals together are stronger, which is why meals are at the center of family visit days, as caregivers and children join their mothers for a bonding experience. Usually, this also can involve participating in fun activities like games and taking lots of pictures. It’s during these in-person visits that moms get to put into practice the tools and training the program provides. These visits are also where we see the magic of reconnecting families. After graduation, an aftercare phase also allows mothers the opportunity to continue receiving services for up to two years after finishing their treatment through the program.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

Recovery Housing at Alvis

An Overview of Three Programs for Women

At Alvis, we’ve been fortunate enough to fuel many programs that focus on recovery for women. Some of these women have a history with substance abuse disorder and/or mental health disorders—many times, these are co-occurring, and may originate from extensive trauma. SHINE (Stable Housing to Inspire, Nurture, and Empower), CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts), and Belmar are a few housing options for women that, in addition to Amethyst, provide resources for independent living and re-entry into the community.

The Amethyst program, which many people familiar with Alvis likely know about, is one of Alvis’ two integrated behavioral healthcare programs. A huge factor that makes the Amethyst program distinct from other treatment programs for women is the fact that it allows women to live with their minor children. Amethyst, specifically, works to reunite and strengthen families. Most residences at Amethyst have more than one bedroom, and the program provides services for women and their children. The ways that SHINE, CHAT, and Belmar differ from Amethyst are mainly due to the clients served through these programs and the format in which recovery resources are offered.

SHINE

SHINE is a Level II Recovery House for women that provides 6-12 months of transitional housing. It is open to both women with or without children, like Amethyst. Additionally, these women must have at least 90 days sobriety, stable mental health, and no violent impulses for the last 12 months. Those who have either been diagnosed with opioid use disorder or have a history of opioid overdose have priority consideration for admission.

At SHINE, women work with a Peer Case Manager to maintain sobriety, form stronger familial relationships, receive employment training and assistance entering the workforce, attain financial independence, and transition to a permanent residence. A dedicated caring staff decorates and maintains the living space for families, which features sitting rooms, a kitchen, restrooms, and other typical comforts of home. Up to two single women are housed in one unit (each with her own bedroom) and mothers residing with their children live in single apartments. There is a sliding rent scale based on employment schedule or income, and “move in” packages include living room and bedroom furniture, as well as necessary household supplies. Additional services, like bus passes, utilities, and food assistance is also offered if needed.

CHAT

The CHAT House aims to provide adequate resources to human trafficking survivors, so they may overcome their traumatic experiences and re-enter into society. Many of these women are graduates or participants of the CATCH Court, which was established by Judge Paul Herbert. At the CHAT House, communication is key. Staff is sure to remain transparent and on-call for clients, in case they need to discuss important things. Emergency situations are tackled as a team. 

In the living space itself, much like SHINE, walls are lined with bookshelves and decorated with empowering wall art and words of encouragement. Some of this art is made by clients and Alvis volunteers, who bond and connect through creating arts and crafts.

Belmar

The Belmar House, which recently acquired a Level II Ohio Recovery House certification last July, is a beautiful space managed by a former client. Unlike Amethyst and SHINE, this is a space for women without children. Each client has her own private bedroom, and there are a host of common areas, like a modern kitchen area and multiple sitting rooms. The women at Belmar are very independent and live close to typical everyday lives, which is an end goal for all Alvis clients. They have already shown signs that they can maintain structured schedules and employment. Rent is due on the day they move in, and there are still random drop-ins, house meetings, and walkthroughs every couple of weeks like at SHINE. Clients can stay here for as long as they wish, on the condition that they stay clean and follow house rules.

We’re so excited for our recent developments and programs to come. As we offer more support and resources to our clients, during this especially trying time, we remain hopeful and confident in the ability for our clients to achieve #180DegreeImpacts on themselves and their community.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

National Nurses Day

Today is National Nurses Day, which kicks off National Nurses Week. Today is also referred to, by some, as National RN Recognition Day.

To celebrate today, one of the best things you can probably do is show your support and appreciation for nurses around you. On social media, you can utilize the hashtag #NationalNursesDay to recognize our nurses, who we are critically relying on during this time of turmoil and health crisis. To nurses everywhere—thank you for all you do! But we are also taking this time to appreciate our nurses here at Alvis. Our programs, like our integrated behavioral healthcare programs, Amethyst and Recovery Choices, offer clinical components, as well as the specialized programming we offer to individuals with developmental disabilities (DD Services). This would not be possible without our nursing staff, who contribute daily to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our clients.

Sandy Allen, Managing Director of DD Services, provided information about two of our nursing staff members involved with DD clients. Allen had the following things to say about these excellent individuals.

George Adusei Bonsu works directly with the clients in our intermediate care facility. Taking care of 15 clients on a daily basis, George is kind and caring. The clients look to him for support and education, and he is respected by both his peers and those he serves.

Temitope Allabi joined the Alvis team when IBHC for DD services opened in February 2019. Temi spends 16 hours a week working hand in hand with the DD team and clients, to aid in good physical and mental health. Kind and caring, Temi actively represents the mission of Alvis.

Additionally, two of our nurses are involved in Alvis’ behavioral healthcare services.

Heather Weiss, RN, works at the Pages Treatment and Recovery Center in the Recovery Choices (IBHC) program. She is a hardworking and a wonderful client advocate for her patients. She collaborates with the halfway house and court teams to ensure clients attend their appointments and to ensure clients are taking their medication as directed.

Teresa Soller, RN, is the Healthcare Coordinator and considered the supervisor of all of the nurses at Alvis. She primarily works in IBHC and her office is based at the primary location of the Amethyst program. Teresa is always bright and cheerful when interacting with staff and patients. She is intuitive and quick to notice when a client needs some additional empathy and support. Teresa is skilled at connecting clients with additional resources and always has their many needs in mind.

We value our nurses so much, and now, more than ever, we are celebrating the outstanding hard work and commitment that they’ve displayed to their clients, their calling, and their community.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis

National Mental Health Month

May is National Mental Health Month. And today, May 5th, is National Silence the Shame Day. This day encourages open conversation surrounding mental illness, as we work to erase stigmas and advocate support for people with mental illness.

Considering the current state of the world, self-quarantine, isolation, and social distancing has been understandably hard for many individuals. The lack of in-person connection that most of us are experiencing on a daily basis can exacerbate mental illness or difficulties involving mental health. Staying in recovery from the disease of addiction is subsequently harder, too.

If you are looking for help…

Alvis is here for you right now, providing substance abuse and mental health treatment services! We are still taking walk-ins. Two of our programs specifically focus on behavioral healthcare—Recovery Choices and Amethyst. Recovery Choices focuses on comprehensive outpatient and intensive outpatient services for men and women. Amethyst is our program for women with and without children seeking addiction, mental health, and trauma-related treatment. Because these are challenging times, for both of these programs, we are currently offering telehealth assessments, telehealth counseling, and telemedicine. Both programs involve psychiatric assessments and corresponding medical treatment as needed.

Additionally, we offer individualized treatment to those with developmental disabilities. If you or a loved one is seeking treatment, click here.

One particular crisis that has intensified in conjunction with COVID-19 is the opioid crisis in our home state. This past weekend was the 5th straight weekend with an increased number of overdoses in central Ohio. Here is a link to Naloxone kits, which counteract opioid overdoses, if you or a loved one are in need.

Lastly, if you are seeking out a specific program, you can contact Recovery Choices at: 614-502-7843 and Amethyst at 614-242-1284.

If you are looking to help…

Click this link to donate directly to Alvis, or send a check to Alvis, 2100 Stella Ct, Columbus, OH 43215.

You can also donate items. We’ve created an Amazon Wish List! You can order items to be delivered to us, or drop off items between 9:00am and 3:00pm at 455 E. Mound St., Columbus. 

Simply sending notes, letters, videos, or anything else that could lift our clients up can be sent to 2100 Stella Ct, Columbus, OH 43215, Attn: Development & Communications. Or click here to send electronically.

On Mental Health Month…

Some attention across social media and news outlets has focused on the challenges facing our nation in regards to mental health. A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll, cited by The Washington Post, found that nearly half of Americans have reported that the coronavirus crisis has affected their mental health. Diseases leave lingering psychological and societal effects in a long-lasting shadow. This shadow “often trails the disease by weeks, months, even years. And it receives scant attention compared with the disease, even though it, too, wreaks carnage, devastates families, harms and kills.”

So, what can we do to help? The 2020 theme for National Mental Health Month is “Tools 2 Thrive.” You could check out info about this year’s theme on Mental Health America’s website, which offers links to printable handouts and information on working through feelings and emotions in healthy ways, connecting to others, and establishing healthy routines.

There are also plenty of other great mental health organizations and advocacy groups, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), which has begun its “You are Not Alone” campaign, crusading against the idea that anyone is truly alone during this time. Even if we cannot physically be close, now is a suitable time (if you can) to check in with friends and family. And it’s also important to recognize that no one “should feel alone or without the information, support and help they need.”

Silence the Shame Day is similarly about spreading awareness. The best thing that organizations can do right now is provide resources and encourage open conversation about mental illness, so that nobody suffers in silence.

Alvis practices integrated behavioral healthcare to best serve our clients, who have a wide array of different needs that arise from the challenges they face. We are taking this time to prioritize both physical and mental health, mirroring the sentiments expressed by NAMI and Mental Health America. Our clients are not alone in their battles involving mental health, and our treatment continues to aim at helping clients turn their lives around.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

Randy Kirby brings his love of music to volunteering

Randy on bass

Randy Kirby came to Alvis to share his love of music with our clients. Music is in his DNA. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist who is married to a classically trained pianist. All five of their children play a variety of instruments as a result of being taught by their parents. What Randy loves the most, though, is teaching music to others and seeing the lights go on when someone “gets it.”

Now that his kids are older, Randy had a little more time. His love of teaching music brought him to Alvis as a volunteer. He is working with men in our programs for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). He teaches them piano, guitar and/or bass guitar, depending on their area of interest. Randy is personally a fan of 1960s Rock and Roll and blues from about any era. For many years when he lived in the Cleveland area, Randy played in “Club Sandwich,” a Beatles cover band.

Randy on piano

He first started working with the IDD clients in the fall of 2019. He loves their enthusiasm for learning and watching them figure stuff out. But Randy also admits he’s had to learn to be more patient and go slower when a client doesn’t want to move ahead at his typical pace. “I meet them where they’re at,” he says.

The Alvis clients couldn’t ask for a more upbeat, energetic and caring teacher. “There’s so much more that’s positive about music than just learning to play,” says Randy. “It boosts a person’s confidence because it’s like learning another language.” He also notes, “Music can be a way for some people to process their emotions.” Randy treasures the time he spends at Alvis and insists he gets more out of volunteering than he gives. “Watching them grow and stretch is a great feeling. I’m lucky to be part of it.”

Thank you, Randy, for volunteering and helping to turn lives around!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.