Party Like a ROSC Star

The (mental health) Center is so excited to bring a new program to this community that has the potential to radically change generations of family members in our great communities. The ROSC (Recovery Oriented System of Care) grant is designed to reduce stigma of recovery from addiction, eliminate barriers to treatment, and to establish safe, healthy activities for the sober community. In addition, our hope is to build a multi-disciplinary team of law enforcement, legal professionals, hospital staff, addiction treatment providers, small business owners, social service providers, and PLEs (people with lived experience) that will serve as a ROSC Council to coordinate all of these objectives.

In the most recent years of behavioral health and addiction treatment, there has been a big push to implement Peer Supported Services to provide additional resources for consumers. Both State and Federal agencies have seen the value of placing PLEs alongside trained substance/mental health professionals to offer an additional level of support to those advocating for wellness. While therapists and addiction counselors have the professional training to perform their jobs competently, many lack that first-hand perspective of trying to navigate one’s health while coping with ongoing addiction/mental health symptoms. This perspective is needed and often helpful in the treatment process. Lacking a PLE’s perspective when developing treatment modalities has similar hurdles as a bunch of older adults trying to create social events that would be attractive to today’s teenagers. We may think we have an understanding of the need, but we lack perspective of the journey.

While The Center was aware of this need, it really impacted me after I observed a man in recovery completing one of his recent addiction counseling sessions. Our addiction therapist does a great job and was very supportive of this individual when he said, “Great seeing you today, I’ll see you in a couple weeks.” I watched this man’s smile slowly fade as he walked back to a car and as he took a deep breath as he sat down. I thought to myself, “What does this man’s next 13 days look like, and hopefully he has a strong support network to carry him until the next time we are able to serve him.”

While I don’t fully understand the weight of recovery and maintenance, I do understand the need for healthy community. I understand life is hard, but much harder alone. In order to persevere, the forces pulling one toward recovery must be stronger than the forces pulling one to relapse.

The Piatt County ROSC Council will be one of only about 25 Councils in the entire state. This is a three year grant that hopefully will build healthy collaborations, develop new support resources, and create a plan for future stability. If you or someone you know has a passion for those in recovery, please know there is an open seat at the council for you. When thinking of the potential power of ROSC, I am reminded of an old African proverb that states, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Piatt County, let’s see how far we can go together. eases access for those otherwise unable to participate. It helps mitigate any risk of exposure normally associated with in-person. It also reduces other barriers like child-care and/or transportation needs in order to make an appointment.  However, I also feel that limits the amount of data a therapist can take in as they can only see what is confined on the screen/phone.  It also can reduce the human connection that an appropriate, non-verbal behavior (ex. leaning inwards; handing someone a tissue) can communicate to strengthen the therapeutic rapport.  

What I do know is that while teletherapy may not replace in-person therapy, but it is also not going away.  Platforms will become more intuitive, the need for BH will continue to increase, and businesses will see the cost effectiveness of this method versus those associated with brick and mortar buildings.  In Illinois, our legislators understand the need for teletherapy and this year have passed HB 3498 which will keep many of the protections for teletherapy (both process and billing) that have been protected under Governor Pritzker’s Executive Orders for the past 15 months.  While the pandemic has taken much from us for too long, it has also given us tenacity and innovativeness.  Telehealth is a prime example of both.


Tony Kirkman is the director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center.

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