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. First up, Communicare. Watch this space as well as our Facebook and Twitter for more.

“The fear of COVID-19 seems to be the biggest challenge we have faced and are still facing,” says Melody E. Madaris, MRC, CRC, CMHT, EMDRII, ART, LCPC, the Assistant Director of Communicare/Region II. “Both the fear our staff felt and the fear of individuals receiving services.” Communicare supports mental health and recovery in six counties in Northern Central Mississippi, delivering outpatient and residential services as well as school-based services in several public education systems.

And they’ve chosen to fight that fear with open communication and knowledge.  “We’ve maintained an open-door policy from the top of the organization down—allowing everyone to come and in discuss their concerns, fears—and success stories!”

The team’s end goal is to provide whatever service is necessary to help the client. If they can’t directly provide the service needed, they work together to refer them to the specialist or organization that can.

“Communicare is unlike any place I’ve ever worked. The desire of each individual to help shines through everything we do. No one is here just to collect a paycheck. And you can see this each time staff go above and beyond to help a client.” And that includes a pretty significant pivot to using telemedicine.

In the days of social distancing, the Communicare team feels it’s never been truer that “it’s hard to have recovery without genuine connection. Connection to others, to community, to family—whether that’s a birth family or a chosen family.” So they’ve fostered and nurtured their clients’ connections through social media, telephone contacts and telemedicine.

“We prefer seeing people face-to-face, because that is the easiest way to make a connection; however, using telemedicine has had positive attributes.” Madaris says, “We’ve been able to help individuals remain in treatment through this process.”

Madaris shares one recent testimony to the power of connection, even if electronic rather than physical: “We received a crisis call early one morning; an individual in recovery had relapsed recently. With the help of the individuals within the 12-step community in our area and our crisis team, we were able to intervene and place them in residential treatment.” None of this would have happened if the client’s spouse hadn’t felt a connection to the recovery group or if the recovery group hadn’t felt a connection to Communicare professionals. “You could say we did a 12-step call together,” she says.

Learn more about Communicare at communicarems.org.

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