2020 Recovery Month: Celebrating The Power of Connection

September is National Recovery Month, and we’re thrilled to highlight and celebrate the work of three of our partners this month. The theme for 2020, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections,” reminds people in recovery and those who support them that we all have victories to celebrate and we cannot do it alone. We’re paying particular attention to the way these organizations and individuals responded to the challenges of forging connections and supporting recovery during a global pandemic. We’re pleased to continue this series with Metro Inclusive Health. You can read the first post here, and check out Facebook and Twitter for more.

Metro Inclusive Health, based in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, provides a variety of medical, behavioral and social services to address their clients’ needs holistically.

One recent client, 19-year-old “Joe,” is a perfect example of how METRO has cultivated diversity of programming to meet their mission of promoting a healthy environment for all and fostering diversity within the community as a whole, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or economic status.

Joe was referred to METRO team by another area inpatient/outpatient substance abuse facility who knew that their RELINK case management program focuses on assisting young adults (18-26) after incarceration.

Joe had a lengthy history of incarcerations and little stability. He also had a variety of needs the referring agency couldn’t meet. METRO’s RELINK staff worked with the referring substance abuse counselor to ensure Joe’s needs to provide service in a holistic and collaborative way. With this type of support making sure all of his medical and social service needs were met, Joe successfully completed all program requirements!

Julia Delmerico, Reentry Program Manager, vividly remembers when the organization realized that COVID-19 had the power to disrupt their services. “Here at METRO, we didn’t close our doors, but we did take immediate action to maintain staff and client safety.” That included ramping up all telehealth services, which Delmerico says, “allowed us let clients know we were—and are—still here for them. We’ve been able to continue providing service and support without interruption, despite limitations on face-to-face activities.”

METRO implemented a variety of virtual programming in addition to increasing delivery of medical and behavioral services via telehealth. Using Zoom or GoTo Meeting, virtual programming allowed the clients to see who they are speaking—a crucial component of fostering connection. Group virtual meetings were incredibly helpful for those in recovery as well as residents with little social support.

As the METRO team works with individuals navigating their recovery, they focus on meeting the client where they are. “As cliché as it may sound, it’s true,” she says. “Each person is in a different step or goal on their road to recovery, so there is no one-size-fits-all.”

Flexibility is key to the METRO model of recovery support. As we’ve seen with COVID-19—and in other, smaller ways—there will be unexpected events.” METRO has committed to providing staff and clients with some sense of normalcy. “Whether it’s through advanced preparation or by taking immediate action to remedy unplanned situations, we continue to build client and staff trust in the agency and the process.”

Learn more about Metro Inclusive Health at metrotampabay.org.

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