Thu, April 09

My Turn: We couldn’t do what we do without community’s support

Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 to help bring attention to the importance mental health plays in Americans’ lives.  The observance provides an opportunity to look back at how far we’ve come, while looking forward to the work that still remains.

Mental Health Awareness Month is a good time for all of us to remind ourselves that mental illness affects everyone, and that our nation has made huge strides in treatment and stigma reduction. Here at the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic, we’ve been serving the community with mental health and substance abuse treatment services since 1965, longer than any other such facility in Northern Arizona. As part of the national trend toward the integration of mental health and physical healthcare, we also now offer primary medical care as well.

Just over 50 years ago, President Kennedy called for a bold, new approach to mental health. This approach emphasized prevention, treatment, education and recovery, instead of shame and stigma. That call for action led to the Community Mental Health Act and federal investment in community mental health centers, which provided an alternative to institutionalization.

That’s where the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic comes in. By offering our clients high quality, recovery oriented treatment right here in our community, we help people seeking recovery stay close to family and friends, jobs, schools, and the other natural supports which enrich all of our lives.

While we feel a strong sense of responsibility to support those we serve, we also have a great appreciation for the support we receive from the communities we serve. Over our 48 years of growth, the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic has received donations of land, time and money from countless donors, volunteer board members, and the municipalities in which we have located our facilities. The cities of Cottonwood, Camp Verde, and Sedona, where our offices and other facilities are located, have been good civic partners.

The Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services and NARBHA, the Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority, have provided funding, guidance, and resources to support our work. Our doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, management and support staff work hard to treat those seeking services with respect and care. The individuals who entrust us with their care and the families who support them all play a role in recovery. Mental Health Awareness Month also offers a great opportunity to say thank you.

We couldn’t do what we do without the support of our community.

Robert Cartia is the C.E.O. of the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic in Cottonwood.

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