Behavioral health care provider tackles big issues through community collaboration

New ‘Community Coffee Chats’ initiative brewing up hope for at-risk residents

A new initiative from Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care aims to brew up some fresh ideas and creative approaches to serious issues such as the fentanyl crisis.

Quarterly Community Coffee Chats will invite community leaders, first responders and health care workers to join a panel of experts and educators on various topics in hopes of spreading awareness and information.

“We’re very excited to be hosting our first Community Coffee Chat on Feb. 14, from 8 to 9 a.m. at our Recovery Place Cafe in Auburn,” says John Grossman, Director of Development and Community Giving at Valley Cities. “This first session will address the ongoing fentanyl epidemic and feature a panel of experts who will share their insights and then answer questions afterwards.”

Join Valley Cities at their first Community Coffee Chat on Feb. 14.

Join Valley Cities at their first Community Coffee Chat on Feb. 14.

Grossman says he hopes this first Coffee Chat in Auburn will provide the chance to ask questions, make connections and dispel outdated misinformation regarding fentanyl and substance addiction as a whole.

“The current fentanyl crisis is truly just that, a crisis that’s far more widespread than many people realize. Fentanyl is virtually impossible to detect without the use of testing strips when mixed with other substances and as a result is frequently taken by individuals without them even realizing it,” says Vicki Brinigar, Director of Recovery Place Seattle.

Substance addictions also often walk hand-in-hand with other health concerns, like undiagnosed or untreated mental health illnesses, mismanaged chronic pain and many other comorbid diseases, Brinigar says, noting that the process of withdrawal off of certain addictive substances, or ‘detoxing’, can not only be challenging but also life threatening, depending on the substance.

“One of the many services provided at Valley Cities is 24 hour walk-in withdrawal management, which allows those suffering with addiction to always have easy access to safe, medically supervised withdrawal management services,” Brinigar says. “That’s just one of many services we provide or have access to that can help those suffering with addiction to receive the support they need to recover.”

Valley Cities first Community Coffee Chat will take place Feb. 14 from 8 to 9 a.m. at Recovery Place Cafe in Auburn.

Valley Cities first Community Coffee Chat will take place Feb. 14 from 8 to 9 a.m. at Recovery Place Cafe in Auburn.

Attending the first Community Coffee Chat Feb. 14, in addition to Brinigar, are:

  • Dr. Richard Gieger, PhD, Chief of Inpatient and Residential Services: Dr. Giegar has more than 40 years of experience in Inpatient Behavioral Health, primarily in the administration of programs and facilities.
  • Rose Baldridge, Director of SUD Services: With over 20 years experience, Baldridge has worked in all facets of recovery from youth programs to inpatient to adult outpatient programs.
  • Scott Stewart, Program Manager: Stewart brings more than 14 years experience in nonprofit, community behavioral healthcare with him, Including experience as in a management role at MATCH (Medication-Assisted Treatment & Community Health), a program that often works closely with Valley Cities.
  • Vicki Brinigar, Director of Recovery Place Seattle: Brinigar has worked in the field since 2010 and is a Substance Use Disorder Professional and a Mental Health Counselor.

“Ultimately our goal with these new Community Coffee Chats is to bring together good people in our communities and share valuable information, while also providing the space and opportunities for organic growth toward common goals such as improving the overall safety, health and wellbeing of our community,” Grossman says.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction you can reach out to Valley Cities via phone at 206-731-7210 for information on their inpatient and withdrawal management services. For additional questions regarding Valley Cities and the services they provide call 253-833-7444. You can also find Valley Cities online at www.valleycities.org or on Facebook for the latest news and updates.

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