North Sound Mental Health Administration

Improving the mental health and well being of individuals and families in our communities
A Regional Support Network for Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish & Whatcom Counties.
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Joe's Corner

Joe Valentine, Executive Director

One of the most overlooked words in descriptions of mental health treatment is the word health. It has been a long journey from the days of warehousing poor persons who suffered from mental illness to the current emphasis on recovery as not only a possibility but a goal. It is fitting then that NSMHA is excited to add our voice to the Voices of Recovery being celebrated as part of SAMHSA's September National Recovery Month.

SAMHSA is featuring the inspirational stories of persons who achieved recovery as part of their National Recovery website. Governor Gregoire recently issued a proclamation for September as Recovery Month in Washington which reminds us that "Prevention and effective treatment of mental and/or substance abuse disorders are significant - and that people in recovery achieve healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities."

At NSMHA we also celebrate Voices of Recovery each year in our "Poster and Poetry Contest" and focus on the importance of recovery year round through the diversity of programs and services we fund that support recovery. These include Peer Support Centers, Supported Employment, a variety of different housing support services, tribal healing programs, supports for employment of Peer Specialists, NSMHA funded trainings, and others.

NSMHA is now in the process of building its Strategic Plan for the next 3 years and we're emphasizing our commitment to recovery by including several recovery-oriented strategies as part of our 3 most important goals. These are:

  • Support the sustainability of recovery-oriented services such as housing services and supported employment;
  • Increase the number of peers employed in our system; and,
  • Build a regional peer network and training plan to support consumer empowerment initiatives.

As I have visited the many different programs which NSMHA funds, I have been particularly struck by the critical role that employment and supportive housing play in helping persons stabilize and sustain their progress towards recovery. Timely access to these opportunities can play a critical role in whether someone is able to move forward or slip back into the darkness of their personal struggles.

Unfortunately, adequate funding for these critical recovery services is not included in the core funding we receive from the state. We have been able to use a one-time fund balance to sustain and expand supported employment and supportive housing services for the next two years, but will need the creative ideas and advocacy efforts of our entire community of stakeholders and advocates to continue to sustain these critical components of a mental health system.




Send mail to Michael White with questions or comments about this web site.
North Sound Mental Health Administration