Greater Valley Health Clinic expands services by launching Co-Occurring Disorder Program aimed at helping adults experiencing both mental health and substance abuse disorders to receive both interventions simultaneously I made it possible.
Shaunda Wegner, director of behavioral health at the Greater Valley Health Clinic, licensed clinical professional counselor, and marriage and family therapist, said the program aims to support the most critical needs of the community. It is explained that
In 2021, the Flathead County Community Health Needs Assessment found mental health and substance use to be the top two concerns in the area. The survey found that 82% of community stakeholders familiar with the medical, mental and social determinants of flathead health rated mental health as a major problem in the community, and 65% rated substance use as a major problem.
“When we looked at community needs assessments, mental health and substance use ranked first and second in community needs in 2021,” said Wegner. “As a federal health certification program and community health center, we felt like the right place to support our community.”
This study enabled the Greater Valley Health Clinic to establish a co-occurring disability program, allowing individuals to receive treatment for both disorders at the same time, lowering the barrier to entry.
“We don’t do that and we don’t turn our backs on anyone. We have health insurance and our rates are sliding. We have people to help you get on board,” Wegner said.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “The presence of two or more disorders can complicate diagnosis and treatment. Treating the whole person improves the quality of care and health outcomes for people with co-occurring disorders.”
Wenger explained that GVHC’s approach to health is patient-centric, with treatment plans tailored to the client’s specific goals.
“We base our treatment plans on what the client wants to achieve and how they will live when treatment is complete,” says Wegner. “Our practice is based on harm reduction research, which means we focus on enhancing their functioning and reducing the harm that disability does to them.”
Greater Valley Health Center Behavioral Health also provides individual and group therapy, care management, and medication for opioid use disorders (MOUD) through its health center clinics. MOUD is the use of medications tailored to each patient’s needs in combination with counseling and behavioral therapy to provide a comprehensive approach to treating substance use disorders.
The care team includes Ann McWilliams, a Licensed Addiction Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Angela Otto, Licensed Addiction Counselor. Program Supervisor Jochen Russig, Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Integrated Care Managers Madeleine Brown and Sarah Williams.
“We have a really passionate and caring team who really help us care for our clients and help us connect with people,” Wegner said.
Greater Valley Health Center’s Behavioral Health program recently moved to 431 1st Avenue West in Kalispell to accommodate new providers and planned growth. For information and to book, call 406-607-4900 or visit the greatvalleyhealth.org website.
Reporter Summer Zalesky can be reached at email@example.com.