I have worked as a practicing clinician in substance abuse treatment fields for the last 8 years and have witnessed the vast struggles in the behavioral health systems of care. The biggest hurdle has always been to connect. From connecting with necessary resources and treatment to connecting with our treatment providers, family and community as a whole. In my own practice, I have strived to find a way to connect with patients, programs, and the larger systems involved. At the end of the day, as human beings, we all want to feel connected. For myself, as an individual who is a part of the larger community of “helping professionals”, connections have always been important. My “claim to fame” in the clinic I worked in as a CASAC was the clinician who kept her patients in programming as long as necessary to find alternative forms of connections outside of treatment. I’ve seen firsthand the impact of relationship on my patients. I have recognized through my own personal growth and the growth of clinic patients, that when relationships are established, healing follows.
I recently made a change in my career to shift from a direct helping professional to join the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS) and work on the Mental Health Community Partners (MHCP) Program. Our MHCP team likes to say that we find wellness in partnership with others. This means that healing in mental health is not without our support system, and illness impacts not just the individual but their family and supporters. MHCP highlights a relational approach to mind-body health and recovery. Our goal with MHCP is to support the individual as much as possible during any major life transition, like transitions from treatment back to life in the community. Through a holistic lens, we focus on wellness and all dimensions of our health to highlight strengths within an individual to find recovery on the continuum of wellness. We recognize that we are never 100% well or 100% ill for all of our lives. So this reminds us that our current status of health is always in movement, and it changes day-to-day.
The beauty of the Mental Health Community Partners program is our commitment to supporting all members of the support system. We expand the definition of support system to include
anyone the person in recovery identifies. If this person is seeking support without any identified support system, the Community Partner will step in and
be that supporter. MHCP is a time-limited, intensive program involving the primary person in recovery and each of their chosen supporters. Not only will the primary participant complete activities like the 8 Dimensions of Wellness Temperature Check, but their families and supporters will complete it as well. This whole-family wellness program dismantles stigma through reminding
everyone involved that their own self-care and wellness is important and worthy of their time!
So, I bring us back around to the theme of connection. My practice has always benefited from taking a step back, and taking a holistic view of any person as a human being with a desire for belonging and relationship. Personally, I value my own relationships with my family, my partner, my team at work, and even my pets. My own connection to self-care and wellness provides me safety and support. MHCP affords a family system whether that be their parents, partner, neighbor, friend or Community Partner the opportunity to connect with their own self-care, wellness and each-other in a new and meaningful way.
The MHANYS Family Engagement team aims to support the wellness of our fellow helping professional community as well through a 5 day certification training for your own professional development and self-care. We ask that you consider joining us in becoming a certified Mental Health Community Partner and enhance our vast network of passionate Mental Health Community Partners across NYS to support the wellness of our community!
For more information, please view our website:
To sign up to be trained as a Certified MHCP please visit:
For additional information about MHANYS please visit our website: