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    Putting people ahead of the bottom line

    By Shawn Holt, Maryhaven President & CEO
    Delaware Gazette — Guest columnist

    I take great pride in sharing the fact that Maryhaven, in partnership with the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, has served more than 8,100 of our Delaware County neighbors over the past 12 years, and 290,000 across all of central Ohio in the past 68 years. These statistics demonstrate that we are stable, sustainable, committed to our communities, and dedicated to the cause of treating mental health and addiction disorders.

    That said, I’m also reminded daily: While outcomes and costs matter, people count the most. You can’t quantify the blessings of helping someone shake off the fog of alcohol or drugs, rebuild their lives, and reconnect with families.

    But, how do you know if the behavioral health or addiction provider you choose will demonstrate a commitment to people more than profit? Here are some factors to consider:

    — Relapse – Does the treatment center welcome you even if you’ve relapsed? It should not matter how many times you’ve tried to get help before. Many people relapse multiple times. In fact, prolonged periods of sobriety may be helpful in achieving long-term recovery. The right math ignores that you fell, and calculates only that you had the perseverance and determination to try recovery again.

    — Beliefs about mental disorders – How does the provider talk about substance abuse or mental illness? Our society must stop labeling the nearly 50% of us who experience these issues as depressed, anxious or addicted. Those are the names of the diseases, not the people who have them. Just like chronic health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you have a treatable disorder. Let’s let go of worries about failure or bad life choices and focus instead on the path forward.

    — Personal care – Is your treatment provider responsive to you and your unique circumstances? Do they want to know you, your history, questions, hopes and beliefs? Some patients report that they left treatment because they “felt like a number.” Staff appeared disinterested, even judgmental. Others can access only medication and not counseling, meaning the physical issues might improve but the trauma remains. The best outcomes appear when your caregiver follows a holistic approach with the goal of treating the disease medically, emotionally and practically, connecting you to the resources you need to return to a full, productive life.

    — Payment options – Will your provider care for you, regardless of your ability to pay? Can they help you access Medicaid or Medicare, if you’re eligible, or navigate the maze of confusing insurance issues? And, if no other options exist, will they still treat you by accessing the public funds set aside for this purpose?

    I could share story after story of patients whose lives were transformed if they were given the care they needed. Ask Faith. She was dismissed by a provider when she could not pay but is now thriving and helping others in recovery after securing treatment for mental illness and addiction. Or Kelsey. Some years ago, Kelsey was due to be released from inpatient care but he knew it was premature. Release would have resulted in relapse and possibly even overdose. Today, he has his own business and plays with his grandkids because a counselor cared enough to find a way to extend his inpatient care.

    In sum, what really counts are people who can support you throughout your recovery journey.

    Shawn Holt is president and CEO of Maryhaven, which has a location in downtown Delaware. For more information, click here or call 740-203-3800.

    Read in the Delaware Gazette