Recovery & Suicide Awareness Month, Wk. 4

Did you know?

Last year, approximately 2,089 individuals were receiving treatment in Richland County for an Opiate Disorder.

The Richland County Opiate Board was formed to develop a proactive response to the Opiate Crisis in Richland County by reducing the fatal consequences of opiate abuse through education, response teams, and assistance in finding treatment.

Click below to read about this task force and the collaboration of 5 separate agencies, 3 Law Enforcement Agencies and other Departments that are a part of this Board as needed.


Agents of Change: Virtual Recovery Run


Recovery Run Update!

We are so grateful to the community as they participated in this month’s Virtual Recovery Run. Today, we announced our current monies raised, weekly winners and the 1st and 2nd place winners of the 5k. To learn more go to our Facebook Live recording here and click the image above to view photos of all Recovery Run participants thus far.

We are excited to announce we have extended the Recovery Run to October 14th due to many individuals who still wished to participate. To hear from several individuals and teams who participated in the Recovery Run click here to read the Richland Source article.


Click the image above for the Voices for Recovery video featuring our Substance Use Treatment Professionals. 

These amazing individuals work hard to promote recovery, inspiration and hope!!



Q1: What is your title and how long have you worked at Catalyst? 

I am the Executive Vice President/Director of Substance Use Services. I’ve been employed with Catalyst since December 2010.


 Q2: Why do you have a passion for helping those who struggle with substance use/addiction and mental health issues? 

 My professional career for over 35 years has been focused on helping people to explore their potential.  The adolescents and adults I’ve had the privilege to serve didn’t set out to purposefully disrupt their lives, the lives of people they love, or give up on their hopes and dreams.  My passion for helping others comes from a place of empathy, acceptance, and caring as people develop the strength to become the best possible version of themselves. 


Q3: In a few sentences, can you share how Catalyst can help someone who struggles with substance use? 

Sometimes when people lose hope, it becomes very difficult to know where to turn for help.  Making a phone call to our 24 Helpline at 419-522-HELP (4357) begins the process.  Each person meets with a therapist to develop their personalized treatment plan.  We offer a full continuum of care.  We provide withdrawal management services, stabilization services, residential, individual and group counseling, medical services, case management, peer support, vocational and access to housing.  The Catalyst safety net can provide a high level of structure to minimize mental health issues, environmental triggers, and reduce or eliminate contact with drugs and alcohol.  At Catalyst, we treat each individual with respect and dignity. 


Q4: What is something about addiction/substance use that you think many people don’t know? 

We know that trauma can be a contributing risk factor in the development of a substance use disorder.  Many individuals with substance use disorders use alcohol and other drugs to self-soothe and help decrease symptoms of anxiety, guilt, shame, fear, irritability, anger, insomnia, depression, loss of appetite, and inability to concentrate.  Access to treatment programs, medications, 12-Step and faith based programs, and other treatment options give people choice in how they want to pursue their recovery.  What I want people to know is that so many people take dramatic steps to turn their life around and become active participants in their personal change process.  Seeing people discover their true potential is beautiful.  

Q5: What does the word, “Recovery” mean to you? 

Recovery is an individual journey. Each person defines what recovery means to them by exploring their desires, values, family situations, social circumstances and lifestyles.Life in recovery is about more than just avoiding drugs and alcohol for the rest of your life. The journey is an ongoing process of growth and healing that is physical, mental, and spiritual.     

Q6: What would you say to encourage someone or a family member who is struggling with substance use? 

Helping a friend or loved one struggling with addiction can sometimes become a long and heartbreaking journey. There may be times it feels extremely overwhelming and ignoring the situation seems like a good solution.  However, sweeping the issue under the rug can be damaging to you, your family and the person you’re concerned about. As painful as it may be, it’s important that you take the time to encourage your loved one to seek assistance.  Please remember, addiction is not a personal failure.  Don’t give up; there is hope; get the help you deserve!


Recovery is Beautiful


 If you knew Nicole a year and a half ago, you may not recognize the happy, vibrant, mother of two today. She used to be in a dark place, struggling with addiction and stuck in a vicious cycle. Today – she is happy and loving life.

    Nicole Shepherd shares her darkest moment in life on March 30th, 2019 when she overdosed. Thankfully, after she was checked out by hospital staff, she was stabilized and able to recover. However, the day had more unexpected news for Nicole as the doctor told her she was pregnant. Nicole was then rushed to Akron hospital to make sure the baby was unharmed. A short while later, she and the baby were given a clean bill of health and Nicole became a resident at New Beginning’s at Catalyst Life Services.

    At that time, New Beginnings was a 16 bed residential unit for both men and women who were struggling with substance use. As a resident of New Beginnings, Nicole was surrounded by all the services that was needed on her road to recovery. This included all services related to the mind, body and spirit.

    Nicole stayed at New Beginnings for 6 months. While she was there she went to counseling, attended group therapy and learned the skills she needed to make sure she was set up for success. Catalyst also helped her to prepare for the baby that was soon coming. They made sure she would have all she needed when the baby arrived. 

    “I had been to Catalyst before in 2018. I was at the stabilization unit for 21 days to detox. But then I just went back to my old friends and situation and relapsed 8 months later,” Nicole says. “This time I changed everything when I got home. It’s a lot of sacrifices to leave friends but it’s so worth it because now I am not just existing – I am living.”

    Nicole is now home and her baby girl is around 1 years old. She is healthy and beautiful and Nicole shares how much she loves being a stay-at-home mom. She also babysits and loves how much her life has turned around in just one and a half years. 

    “An addiction feels like a dark place where you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I used to be miserable. I hated myself and hated where I was,” Nicole shares. “But now I am so very happy and I love life. That’s something I thought I never could have.”

    Nicole is now in a good place to share her story and to encourage others in recovery to get the help they need to have the life they want. She shares that she has already encouraged a friend and guided her toward the resources and help she needed. It is hard to imagine what struggling with substance use is really like, unless you have experienced it yourself. Nicole hopes to one day be able to take her experiences and use them at Catalyst by working to help others on their own road to recovery.  


Suicide Prevention Awareness


Did you know?

Law Enforcement is usually the first ones to respond and engage a person in crisis.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training helps to educate and equip Law Enforcement and First Responders to effectively approach mental health crises, emphasizes consumer and officer safety and helps to build and foster relationships between mental health agencies, law enforcement and individuals and families affected by mental illness. 

Click below to read about CIT and the collaboration between agencies such as NAMI Richland County, the Sheriff’s Department and Catalyst Life Services.


Q1: What is your role at Catalyst and how long have you been here? 

I am an LPN at our new Detox Facility and this Month is my one year Anniversary! 

Q2: In a few sentences, can you explain what your role at Catalyst looks like? 

My role at Withdrawal Management is hard to explain in a few sentences, but I help with the admission process of new clients, I obtain their vitals, medical and physical histories along with their substance use and work closely with our doctors so that our clients can get through the withdrawal process more comfortably and safely. I truly care about our clients and want to see them succeed and hope that while they are here they only have to focus on getting better.

Q3: What do you like most about your job?

One of my favorite parts of my job is the quality time I get to spend engaging with the clients in one on one or in groups, We might be doing Artwork, such as canvas painting or playing a game! But it’s during those times that clients open up to me and tell me their stories! I’d also like to mention that I love that catalyst is pet friendly and has a process in place to incorporate being able to have a pet around our clients which has been really a comfort to our clients! I also have the very best co-workers!

Q4: Why might you encourage someone to detox/withdrawal at our facility rather than simply doing it at home?

I encourage anyone who anticipates going through the withdrawal process to come here, because it can be dangerous to do on your own and we will  help them through it with comfort medication. We also ensure that the client has a process in place for when they finish detox because detoxing is just the first step in recovery!

Q5: What are common barriers to treatment? 

Some of the barriers to treatment that we see with our clients is fear of the unknown and transportation issues, private insurance, and not realizing we are here! 


Community Support


Thank you to the Laborers Local #1216 for your support of Catalyst Life Services! We appreciate the extra support through the Covid 19 crisis as we have had to adapt our service delivery and endure unexpected costs.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

CIT training refers to a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the mental health community to help law enforcement officers handle incidents involving persons suffering with mental illness. It focuses on the need for advanced training and specialization with patrol officers, immediacy of the crisis response, emphasis on officer and consumer safety, and proper referral for those in crisis.

This 40-hour training is comprised of many different speakers from different agencies. They teach first responders about brain illnesses, common symptoms and signs and deescalation strategies during a mental health crisis. Individuals taking the training are also made aware of all mental health resources in this and surrounding counties.

First responders also hear from a panel of individuals with lived experience as well as family members. Many of these individuals have had a police encounter of some sort due to their own or loved one’s mental illness. These perspectives help first responders to better understand mental illness and how to best access and act in certain crisis situations.

CIT has been shown to positively impact perceptions, decrease the need for higher levels of police intervention, decrease officer and consumer injuries, and re-direct those in crisis from the criminal justice system to the health care system. Although this training is offered country-wide, NAMI Richland County offers it twice a year through a collaboration with many local agencies and all local police departments.

Although there are many partners in the implementation of CIT, below you will hear from 3 partners including NAMI Richland County, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Catalyst Life Services.


NAMI Richland County

Q&A with Mary Kay Pierce,

Executive Director

NAMI Richland County

Q1: Why do you feel there is a need for CIT training?

  We know that CIT training helps divert persons with mental health concerns whenever possible to mental health services instead of the jail.  It educates the first responders with some new tools to deescalate a person in mental health crisis and connect them whenever possible to the mental health agencies in our community. It gives the first responders knowledge of all the resources available to offer to individuals and their families who are experiencing a crisis in mental health or addiction.

Q2: Have you seen a positive change since the implementation of this training?

Yes, I have seen many positive changes since the implementation of this training.

CIT has served as a springboard for a broader collaboration between criminal justice and mental health systems.  I have seen an increase in communication and collaboration between all systems.  Many more individuals are being taken to mental health agencies or the hospital to get the treatment they need.  First responders are also connecting the support persons of individuals in crisis to the help they need. 

Q3: What exactly is NAMI’s role in CIT?

NAMI Richland County plays a huge role in CIT in our community.  NAMI began this training with the support of the Richland County Mental Health Board and our NAMI Board in 2004. We believe that CIT is more than a training we do twice a year. It is about relationships between first responders, mental health agencies and individuals and families living with mental health concerns. We work daily in our office to foster those relationships.  We also meet with all the above three times a year to work on any concerns or needs of the community.  

NAMI is also responsible for many of the details of the training including finding instructors for all the curriculum and reaching out to all first responders who would like to take CIT.  We also work closely with our partners in the training which include Local Police Departments, Richland County Mental Health Board, Mansfield Playhouse, all the mental health agencies, first responders and individuals and families living with mental health concerns.

Q4: In a few sentences, how would you explain what CIT is and how it helps prepare first responders?

Crisis Intervention Team programs are local initiatives designed to improve the way law enforcement and the community respond to people experiencing mental health crisis. They are built on strong partnerships between law enforcement, mental health provider agencies and individuals and families affected by mental illness.  It helps first responders recognize when they may be dealing with a mental health concern and teaches them tools to deescalate a person and get them safely to medical care and not the jail.


Richland County Sheriff’s Department

Q&A with Captain Chris Blunk,

Jail Administrator

Richland County Sheriff’s Department

Q1: Why do you think that CIT training is important?

CIT training gives law enforcement the skills and ability to not only recognize but safely attempt to de-escalate situations involving an individual in a mental health crisis where they are called to intervene by family members, neighbors of the person, or another third party. CIT training has changed the attitudes and responses of officers to people who are experiencing these types of crisis, better preparing officers to serve the community and interact with individuals with mental illness. I believe this has resulted in fewer arrests of people with mental illness, an increased understanding of mental illness, and an increased awareness of what to look for in people who might be in crisis.

Q2: How have you seen CIT benefit first responders?

In my experience at the jail, I have seen my staff, and ultimately the community benefit from officers that are trained in CIT. One example is an arrestee was brought into the jail on a minor misdemeanor charge and this person was difficult to interact with or even gain the necessary information to assess their well-being. The CIT officer recognized that this person was mentally ill and used his training to gather the information needed to properly care for this person during intake and throughout incarceration. 

Q3: How would you explain the role of the Sheriff’s Department in a mental health crisis?

The Sheriff’s Office overall role in a mental health crisis is to engage, assess, and respond in a way that protects and serves the community. 

  • Engage- Law enforcement is usually the first to respond to a person in crisis and will ultimately engage the person in crisis.
  • Assess- Upon engaging the person in crisis, assess the situation to provide for the safety and security of that person and others involved or in close proximity. 
  • Respond- Decision making/recognizing mental health crisis/de-escalation techniques/get them necessary help/etc.         

Catalyst Life Services

Q&A with Erin Schaefer,

Executive Director

Catalyst Life Services

Q1: What is Catalyst’s role in CIT?

Catalyst assists NAMI and the RC Mental Health and recovery Services Board with training CIT officers and first responders on mental health issues and awareness.  We also provide information about how to connect people to treatment.  In addition, we sit on the CIT Advisory Committee to collaborate with police departments and community partners regarding how best to work together to serve the mentally ill in our county.

Q2: Why do you think CIT is needed? How has it helped?

CIT is definitely needed, as many of the most severely mentally ill are living in unstable conditions. Having first responders who are trained to understand signs and symptoms can prevent situations from escalating and from unnecessary uses of force or risk of harm to staff and people being helped.

Q3: Can you speak to any positive changes you have seen because of this training? 

I have seen officers who approach someone who is paranoid with a gentle, reassuring voice instead of yelling commands, which could further increase agitation and hallucinations. I have seen first responders befriend those who can be very suspicious and paranoid with kindness and caring, and this in turn leads to better ongoing working relationships on the streets. When in distress, the mentally ill seek police or first responders as someone who can help instead of “the enemy” who is there to hurt them. 

Q4: Can you speak to the collaboration of Catalyst and the police departments?

The police call into Helpline or contact me directly if there is someone in the community about whom they are concerned.  They let us know if someone is not rising to their level of risk of harm to self or others, but it is someone they think we should know about in order to try to engage that person in treatment or to check on that person if he/she is currently in treatment.  Likewise, we contact the police immediately if we have someone who needs immediate assistance because of concerns about that person’s safety.  We partner with the police frequently, and we could not do our jobs without them!  We are grateful for the collaboration.


CIT presenters teaching First Responders.
Local agencies, including Catalyst, attending the quarterly CIT Advisory Meeting
A police officer receiving his CIT certification.

Recovery & Suicide Awareness Month, Wk. 3

Did you know?

Richland County’s Drug Court began in 1996 and is one of the most established drug courts in the state of Ohio?

Catalyst Life Services partners with the court system as one of their treatment providers.

Click the image above to read how the Richland County Court Systems support recovery. You can also read about the partnership between Catalyst Life Services and the local court system to help individuals who struggle with mental health and substance use concerns. 


Agents of Change: Virtual Recovery Run


Recovery Run Update!

We are half way through our Recovery Run and we are excited to announce our progress! We are about half way to our goal!

Goal: $2,500

Current Amount Raised:
$1,350

2 Pages:

1. View Mansfield Misfits here
2. View Recovery is Beautiful here

3 Teams:

1. Mansfield Misfits
2. Mid Ohio AFL-CIO
3. Bricklayers Local #40: The Brickies

Click here to learn more and register!


Click the image above to hear from Olivia as she talks about being a Peer Recovery Supporter and what was important for her on her road to recovery.


Q1: How long have you worked at Catalyst Life Services and what do you do there?

I began working at the agency in March 2015. My current title is the, Outpatient Substance Use Disorder Supervisor and Supervisor of Peer Support Services. I co-facilitate the intensive outpatient group (IOP) and am also the Mansfield Municipal Court Liaison among other things. 

Q2: Can you explain what the SUD Outpatient Services are?

They are the treatment services clients engage in for their substance use disorder. Clients can receive services in a variety of ways. Clients can engage in substance use disorder treatment through a group setting or individual sessions. Some clients engage in both. A client’s treatment or level of care is determined by their assessment and the ASAM, both provide medical necessity for the treatment recommended.

 
Q3: What do you like most about your job?

Many clients initially coming into treatment have minimal hope and low self-esteem. They feel lost and like recovery is not a realistic option for them. I like being able to establish and continue building connection and trust with clients.
 

Q4: Why are you passionate about Recovery Services?

I believe people do recover; not everyone has that belief. Individuals need to be able to work with professionals without judgment or stigma, who can help motivate them and help clients to see they are resilient and capable of achieving sobriety. Richland is fortunate to have the support of the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery services board. Not every county has the addiction resources this area has.  

 
Q5: What do you think stops people from getting the services they need for addiction?

Being anxious about the process and not knowing what to expect. Recovery is not easy. Often time’s individuals have used substances so long, it is what they are familiar with. Stopping the use of a substance is only the beginning of the process. Sobriety opens the individual up to being vulnerable and having to address trauma, shame, and guilt.
 

Q6: In your opinion, what is recovery?

The desire and willingness to have personal growth; emotionally, mentally, and physically. Finding acceptance of your past and moving forward. 

 
Q7: What would you say to someone who is struggling right now and does not know where to go or may have lost hope?

We all have or will struggle with various issues at some point in life. We can find strength in the support of others and through positive connection. Individuals do not recover alone so reaching out and getting connected to services in the first step in finding hope again.


Suicide Prevention Awareness


We support the mission of 33 Forever, Inc. and were honored to sponsor a hole at the 2nd annual golf outing. Congratulations on such a successful fundraising event!
To learn more about the success of this event click the image above!


NAMI Richland County is one of our community partners!

Click here to read NAMI Richland County’s Newsletter! You can learn suicide warning signs, resources and self care techniques. 


Q1: What is your role at Catalyst and how long have you been here?

 I am a therapist in the AoD department. I run the Recovery Management groups, do assessments for the walk-in clinic, and individual counseling. I have been here at Catalyst for 2 years. 

Q2: Why do you have a passion for your profession?

I have had the wonderful opportunity to see people work through some incredibly difficult things and I always find that to be inspiring. I am thankful that people trust me enough to allow me to accompany them on part of their journey.


Q3: What is something you think the ‘typical’ person might not know about recovery services?

It is a journey with ups and downs and that someone is never starting back at “zero” even after a relapse because they always have the things they have learned they just need to focus on using those skills more effectively. There are times when a client with some clean time will be nervous about admitting that they are struggling with urges and cravings and in reality that is exactly the thing that is important to talk about. Honesty is a huge part of recovery so we should not shame people when they are being honest. Aside from that it is important to remember there is no magic quick fix, it is the daily grind of doing the next right thing that gets and keeps people sober. It is important that the family and loved ones of those struggling with addiction seek out support and help themselves and  do not try to carry that burden on their own.

Q4: What does the word ‘recovery’ mean to you?

Recovery to me is a process that takes time and patience but the word itself more than anything else to me means Hope.

Recovery & Suicide Awareness Month, Wk. 2

Did you know?

Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment. We want people to know they can come to Catalyst and receive life-saving treatment!

If you can benefit from this treatment call our 24/7 Helpline at 419-522-HELP.


Agents of Change: Virtual Recovery Run


Catalyst Challenges!

After registering for the Recovery Run, you can participate in any of these challenges and be entered to win weekly prizes!

Just take a picture while doing one of the challenges and post on social media using the hashtag, #catalystrunforrecovery or #richlandrunforrecovery 

Click here to learn more and register!


Q&A with Melissa Harrison

Q1: What is your title and how long have you worked at Catalyst?
I am an AOD case manager with outpatient clients and an AOD case manager for residential clients. I am also a liaison for SATC court.  I have worked with Catalyst for 3 years.

Q2: In a few sentences, can you explain what your role at Catalyst consists of?
My role is assessing clients basic needs, coordinating and linking to community resources, advocating, and budgeting.  I also assist with the clients transition back in the community after residential treatment.

Q3: What do you like the most about your job?
There is not just one aspect of my job I like most. I love everything about my job.

Q4: Why are you passionate about Addiction and Recovery Services?
I have been touched ( as many have) by addiction and recovery in my family. Recovery is possible.  

Q5: What do you think stops people from getting the services they need for addiction?
Being uneducated on the services provided within their community. 

Q6: What would you say to someone struggling right now and does not know where to go or may have lost hope?

Connection is the key. I would definitely find out where the person needs to be connected. I would talk with the person and meet them where they are at with their level of change.  Showing someone empathy can go a long way. 


Recovery is Possible


Amanda’s Recovery Success Story

For 22 years, I was living as a shell of the person I truly am. Drugs and Alcohol had led me down a dark and lonely path. I would have to undergo the worst and most difficult phase of my life. My addiction had trapped me and slowly took me down every time. I thought I could control it, but things only got worse. Each time I said it couldn’t get any worse, it did. I had gone down that path so far, the only thing I had left to lose was my life. I had lost all hope, and was merely living an existence that some people think of as impossible to be redeemed from.  

Click here to see Amanda’s Recovery Run Page and read the rest of her recovery story.


Q&A with Mandi Whitlatch


Q1: How long have you worked at Catalyst Life Services?

I started working for the agency in 2005. I left the agency in 2007 for 90 days to pursue phlebotomy. I soon learned that being a phlebotomist wasn’t my passion.


Q2: In a few sentences, can you explain what your role is and what it may look like on a ‘typical’ day?

I provide daily functional oversight to New Beginnings I (NB1) and New Beginnings II (NBII). I am the liaison between agency and community members to coordinate admissions into NBI and NBII.  I am responsible for 24 hour scheduling for NBI, NBII and Withdrawal Management. I also co-supervise the AoD case manager.

Q3: What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy being able to walk with the clients on their journey. In supervision, I enjoy watching my staff grow in their roles with the agency. I love being able to supervise staff that are in this field to give back, and watching the impact they have on the people that we serve. I have the opportunity to speak with families that are seeking help for their loved ones and hear their stories. I enjoy being able to assist people with getting treatment.

Q4: Why are you passionate about Recovery Services?

I believe that people can recover! Our area is so lucky to have the support of the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery services board. We are very fortunate to have New Beginnings I, New Beginnings II and Withdrawal Management. Most counties have to send their residents out of county to get needed treatment. I have family members that have struggled with substance use, and it is important to me that our organization provides trauma informed care by ethical and competent staff. You never know when someone you love will need our services.

Q5: What would you say to someone who is struggling right now and does not know where to go or may have lost hope?


I would share that recovery can be hard, but is worth it. I would educate them on the services that our agency has, and attempt to engage them with someone here. I would offer them the numbers to Helpline and encourage to reach out to someone anytime that they want to talk.


Suicide Prevention Awareness



Community Involvement


Click to watch the Focus on North Central Ohio Show on WMFD as we discuss Recovery & Suicide Awareness Month, the Recovery Run, SUD Services and how recovery is beautiful!


Learn about Catalyst Detox/Withdrawal Management Services


Recovery & Suicide Awareness Month, Wk. 1

Did you know?

Individuals with substance use disorders are particularly susceptible to suicide and suicide attempts. Indeed, suicide is a leading cause of death among people who misuse alcohol and drugs. Substance misuse significantly increases the risk of suicide. Approximately 22 percent of deaths by suicide involved alcohol intoxication. (SAMHSA)

Catalyst Life Services specializes in dual-diagnosis treatment.

If you can benefit from this treatment call our 24/7 Helpline at 419-522-HELP.


Agents of Change: Virtual Recovery Run


September is Recovery Month! 

Be one of our “Agents of Change” by participating in our Virtual Recovery Run, happening all month long! You can be the difference that makes recovery possible.

Click here to learn more!


Peer Recovery Supporters are individuals who have been in recovery for a number of years and have been certified to help support others who struggle with addiction.Our amazing Peer Supporters share what helped them the most in the early stages of their own recovery.

Click here to see what they shared!


Q&A with Stacy Shoup


Q1: What is your title and how long have you worked at Catalyst? 

I am an AOD Counselor (LCDC II) at the Men’s Residential facility. I have worked at New Beginnings/The Rehab Center/Catalyst Life Services for 29 years full time on Oct. 3rd.
I started as a case manager in our all female residential facility (at the time was adult and adolescent females) and then worked to obtain my LCDC II.

Q2: In a few sentences, can you explain what your role at Catalyst consists of?

Currently I am the Male Counselor. I do everything from Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) 5 days weekly, to individual sessions, some case management and all clinical documentation to include completing and submitting ASAM levels of care (LOC) to insurance companies for approval. I work closely with the house manager to address any presenting issues as it pertains to the consumers along with review of admissions, discharges and transfers in LOC.    

Q3: What do you like the most about your job?

What I like most about my job is seeing our consumers make lifestyle changes, getting to know them as they learn about themselves and understanding them and their needs and how I can help them help themselves, everyday is different.

Q4: What does the word, ‘Recovery’, mean to you?

The word recovery to me means empowerment, growth, and change.

Q5: What do you think stops people from getting the services they need for addiction?

The stigma regarding Addiction/Mental Health can be a barrier to treatment. I also think family members and their lack of knowledge and or compassion, as well as the person themselves. I also believe that a lack of resources for the consumers stops them. I am hopeful that with telehealth more consumers are able to seek services and or stay engaged in services 

Q6: What positive changes do you hope to see in the future for those who struggle with substance use?

Positive changes I hope to see is the consumer being able to get the services they need for as long as they need them without Managed Care Companies dictating what they need and for how long.


Suicide Prevention Awareness



Community Support


We are so grateful to Joe Jakubick with First Energy Foundation for presenting us with financial support for Progress Industries / Catalyst Life Services.

The money will go to fill in funding gaps for clients with barriers to employment. 

Signs of Suicide Prevention Program

The adolescent years can be some of the most challenging years in an individual’s life. It is a time of hormonal changes, figuring out identity, making future plans and becoming independent. Mental health is always important to maintain; however, at a time with so many drastic changes, the need for good mental health becomes more obvious. And with suicide being the second-leading cause of death for high school students, suicide and mental health awareness is essential.

Catalyst Life Services is committed to providing excellent mental health support and to raise awareness to the importance of good mental health. One of the ways we create this awareness is through the S.O.S. Program. This program is geared toward high school students and equips them with the knowledge they need to know about suicide including the warning signs and what to do if a friend is exhibiting those signs. Students are provided with resources and shown the importance of taking signs of suicide seriously and how to get help from a trusted adult.

 Kristi Crabb, Child & Adolescent Therapist, is one of the instrumental individuals who makes the S.O.S Program possible. In the past 3 years, she has helped to bring this program to local schools such as Lexington and Clear Fork High Schools. This program has helped countless freshmen students and has a unique structure.

“There is a video that’s shown which is about 25 minutes, then we review with the student, and have a discussion.” Kristi shares. “We have also begun having the students write down any questions they may have and turn them in without their name on them. We feel this allows students to ask their questions more openly without the fear of being judged. We have found this to be very productive.”

If you walk through the halls of Lexington or Clear Fork, you may notice some students wearing purple and green bracelets with the acronym: “B.I.O.N.I.C”. These are the students who have gone through the S.O.S program and desire to share their knowledge with anyone who needs help. This acronym stands for, ‘Believe it or Not I Care’. On the other side of the bracelet is the Catalyst 24/7 HelpLine that can help support anyone is crisis.

This program combats the stigma that is commonly attached to: mental health, self-harm and suicide. Many students feel they are alone and do not share their struggles because of the fear of judgment and being labeled a certain way. However, Kristi Crabb shares that she has seen first-hand how this curriculum has helped to open doors, break down stigma and equip these students on what to do if they themselves or a friend is struggling with thoughts of suicide.

Kristi hopes to continue the program this fall. However, with ongoing changes in protocols and classes at locals high schools due to COVID-19, further planning is needed to map out how this program can continue. Stay tuned to see how we will continue to raise awareness for suicide prevention and good mental health.

Peer Recovery Supporters

Peer Recovery Supporters are individuals who have been in recovery for a number of years and have been certified to help support others who struggle with addiction.

Their perspective and support is so unique because they have all personally struggled with substance use and have found freedom, healing and strength on their road to recovery. Our amazing Peer Supporters share what helped them the most in the early stages of their own recovery.


“Discovering sober hobbies was super important early in recovery for me. I honestly had nothing I liked to do aside from getting high. I had to let go of all of my friends because they were still using so I had a ton of free time. I found that I had a huge interest for art and painting (and was actually pretty decent at it). Painting became my escape when I felt triggered or stuck in my own head. I think it is all about stepping out of yourself and your comfort zone to find ones true potential.”

-Olivia Pidgeon

“At that time many things in my life were in disarray. My faith in Jesus Christ gave me the strength to make it through those hard times. Following Christ means humbling yourself, KNOWING His word and trusting that all things work for good for those who love and follow Him. For me, Christ is still a constant in a world filled with uncertainty. This life is a journey, not a destination. To be healthy it is necessary to continue to learn and grow as you pass through the different seasons of your life.”

-Stanley Rust

“What was important to me in early recovery was my on-going and deepening relationship with God.  I had many around me offer me tools to help with my recovery but without a firm foundation on which to stand, I could not have used those tools effectively. God’s complete and absolute love for me and the knowledge of His grace gave me that foundation.”

-Valerie Rust

“In early recovery when I attended AA meetings, I felt as if the leads would jump from their addiction stories to their life now. I remember sitting there thinking (but how did you get from there to here). I really wanted someone to talk about how to get through what I was going through at the time. It was crucial to me to hear words of hope that I could get better if I followed through with the program. Bonding with people in my recovery group was helpful, because it kinda became our struggle, and not just mine. We actually started to care about each other’s recovery as well as our own. Another important piece was staying away from using friends. I tried for awhile to keep the same friends, go the same places, and do the same things, without getting drunk. Well that didn’t last long. All of that had to change as well. As my anxiety increased I really felt the need to reach out to a God I had known about my whole life, but never surrendered to. As my relationship with My God began to grow, I began to have more hope. Finally, I was not alone, but had someone bigger than me who could handle all my struggles much better than I could.”

-Lisa Thornton

“I had tried many times to stop using my way and within 2 to 6 months I would say something like “If this is my life sober, I might as well get high” 

Looking back, in the first 2 years of my recovery I:

  • Changed my way of thinking to improve the quality of my life.
    • I knew I had a problem, however, I had to accept that my way did not work and I would have to find a new way to live.
    • I found people that had been successful in changing their life, that were willing to help me.
    • I had to remember that years of reacting to life by getting high would take years to change. I was in no hurry to fix my life, progress in the right direction was good enough.
  • Developed a new routine that enabled a new way to live
    • My daily routine included hanging out with people that were in recovery, I attended IOP and or 12-step meetings every day. 
    • My routine was focused on adding new people, places and things.  By adding new, the old just fell out of my life.
  • Became aware of what I was thinking about and took action
    • The hardest time for me was the time from when I got off work till I went to bed so I went to meetings and took long walks to keep me from feeling sorry for myself. 
    • I became aware of when I was dwelling on something in the past or the future and learned to accept what I could not change.  I also learned the only thing I could change was how I reacted to life.” -Andrew Martenet

“Having the peers join our SUD team has made such a positive impact for our clients. We all have or will struggle at some point in life, and we all can find strength in the support of others and through positive connection. Peer recovery supporters being able to share their personal lived experience is key in their job and something I am not able to do as a clinician. To me the peer recovery supporters offer hope and guidance for clients. I work with many clients who have no sense of hope or self-esteem when initially coming into treatment. They feel lost and like recovery isn’t a realistic option for them. Peer recovery supporters offer the hope that recovery is possible and share how they personally have experienced the healing process and recovery from addiction. The peers offer motivation and support during trying times and celebrate the successes with clients as they come. Thank you for all that you do for clients and our agency!”

-Deanna Roberts, LSW, Supervisor of Peer Recovery Support

August Newsletter

Did you know?

Did you know that American Sign Language grammar is more similar to French than English?


Tanya shares what Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services is all about and the many services that are provided! 
She also shares how Catalyst Life Services combats the stigma associated with an individual’s hearing ability.

Click the image above to watch!


Q1: What is your title and how long have you worked at Catalyst? 

My title is Deaf Services Coordinator/Interpreter. And Sept 15th will be 12 years.   

Q2: Can you tell us a little bit about the services you provide to clients? 

Deaf services has always provided interpreting, Advocacy/Education, Leadership, Support Services and Summer Youth programming (until this year we took a break due to the lack of kiddos in our area).  

Honestly we do just about everything we can to assist our clients.  Sometimes that doesn’t fall under any of the categories that I mentioned. For example, a client, that has since passed; brought his entire fax machine into the office one day for me to fix it.  If anyone knows me I am not the person to ask to fix anything electronic. All I did was plug it in and turned it on and it seemed to work and he was pleased. He took it home and that was that. 

Deaf Services now offers a few extra programs such as WIP, Case Management & Pre-ETS.   

Q3: What might a ‘typical’ day look like to you as an interpreter? 

There truly is no “normal” day for interpreters. My day can be set when I leave for the day and by the time I wake up my entire day could be different. Maybe I had some office time and then a few medical appointments and some more office time scheduled.  Then I could have gotten a call that was we need an interpreter all day for a work training, or an emergency surgery. Or I could have gotten called out in the middle of the night. I’ve left work literally pulled in my drive and received a call to go back out. I later arrived home from that call and got another call less than 1 hour later and had to go out again. Arrived home AGAIN (lol) slept few a few hours and got up for my normal day.     

Q4: What is one of the most unique interpreting experience you’ve had? 

One of the most unique experiences I’ve had was when I first started interpreting and interpreted my first C-section. As an interpreter, you really have to have the stomach for anything and everything.  It was me having to relay every moment that was happening.  From the first time the doctor was making his incision, to what I was seeing and what the nurses and doctor were saying. Letting her know that they were pulling her child out and what that looked like. Sewing her up and keeping her updated with her child’s status as they cleaned and checked the baby. Imagine being strapped down to a table and not being able to hear a sound, or see what’s happening because there is a sheet up in front of you. Weird, right? That’s the exciting part for me. Knowing we as interpreters give them the experience they should have. The communication.   

Q5: What do you think is something most people do not know about Deaf Services? 

People truly have no clue how much work goes into scheduling for 9 counties.  The coordination of which interpreter can go to what assignment. Navigating time frames of the appointment and travel time. What if the appointment goes longer than expected? What if an emergency gets called in? What if one of the interpreters has to leave because they are sick? So many factors can change our day in a second. I know I constantly inform entities that we cover a large area and we are not always available last minute. However, over the years there has not been much we have not covered. We work hard to accommodate all the assignments we can.  


Meet the ASL Interpreters!

ASL Interpreters share their favorite part of their job at Catalyst Life Services!

“My favorite part of being an interpreter at Catalyst is that every day is different so I never get bored and I can always improve.”
-Tanya Haga

“My favorite part of being an interpreter is working in a variety of settings with people of all ages.”   
– Ruthie Good

 “The best part of being an interpreter for me is the way we can bring light to a situation whether it be a medical issue or mental health issue by finding conceptual ways of bringing that ‘aha moment’.”   
-Kori Serrano

“One of my favorite parts of being an interpreter is the variety of assignments, it keeps me on my toes.”    
-Carleigh Ison

“My favorite part of interpreting is getting to work in a variety of different settings and with different people every day.”   
-Whitney Rotter

 “My favorite part of being an interpreter is that I am always learning new things.”   
-Shelby Mills

  “My favorite part is getting to meet and help communicate with a variety of different people in a variety of different circumstances.”
-Molly Blackford

“My favorite part of being an interpreter is knowing that I’ve turned confusion into understanding by using a person’s preferred language so they don’t have to work as hard to communicate.” 
Diane Schmidt

“My favorite part about being an interpreter is experiencing all of the diverse and unique situations that I encounter and expanding my horizons by learning a little bit about all of the different things that I can.” 
-Rebekkah Broughton


Language Access: COVID-19 Impact


Stay in touch with the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing!



News for Recovery & Addiction Services

Addiction Physiology, Facts, and Future Hope

The New Beginnings Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services Team participated in a training titled “Addiction Physiology, Facts, and Future Hope,” by Dr. Joseph Bocka MD, Catalyst Life Services Withdrawal Management Medical Director.   Information regarding how opiates and other substances affect the brain, updates on medication assisted treatment, how to support those who are in early recovery, and new projects on the horizon including his new role providing addiction consult services for hospital employees. 

The event also provided staff with training on how to respond to an overdose.  Dr. Bocka secured NARCAN for each staff member to have for their own personal use.  Guy Daly, licensed social worker at New Beginning’s residential facilities provided information on his past experiences providing NARCAN as a firefighter and outreach coordinator.  Paige Rhodes, Withdrawal Management Nursing Director provided information on the process to provide NARCAN to clients leaving the withdrawal management center, residential facilities, and those in outpatient services.  This training comes at a critical time as information provided by the Richland County Opiate Review Board indicates that from 1/1/20 – 7/31/20 overdoses have increased by 32.12% and overdose deaths have increased by 43.48%.

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is one tool to assist with combating the epidemic of opioid use—including prescription painkillers and, increasingly, heroin.  The complex issues surrounding addiction require a multi-pronged approach that involves reducing drug diversion, expanding delivery of existing treatments (including medication-assisted treatments), and development of new medications for pain that can augment our existing treatment arsenal. But another crucial component we must not forget is that people who abuse or are addicted to opioids need to be kept alive long enough that they can be treated successfully. In this, the drug naloxone has a large potential role to play.  It’s only meant to be a first line of defense during an overdose, because its antidote effect will wear off in 20–90 minutes. So naloxone really just buys time for the victim until they can be treated more thoroughly by licensed medical professionals. It may even need to be administered a second time if the victim stops breathing again. 

Some people have suggested that if naloxone were viewed as a safety net, it would encourage people to use more opioids. Several studies have demonstrated that this is simply not true — increased naloxone access has shown no increase in behaviors associated with opioid ingestion.   Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing the overdose crisis still impacting lives.  We know that nationwide both overdoses and overdose deaths are on the rise again.  People have lost their jobs and their health insurance leaving more people vulnerable.  On July 23rd, the FDA announced that it will require drug manufacturers to include information about naloxone on the labels of opioid painkillers.  Raising awareness for not only those who are addicted to opioids, but helping the public understand the lifesaving potential Narcan can provide, is a worthwhile venture. Addiction is treatable. But not if you’re dead.

Catalyst and many of our community partners, such as the Richland County Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, help to ensure that residents of Richland County have access to quality care and services. 

As we continue to deal with the opioid epidemic, it is critical that we use all the tools available to save lives.  We know that with understanding and compassion, hope can grow. Ongoing training and education will let those who struggle with substance use know –  they are not alone and help is available.  Catalyst offers detox/withdrawal management services, residential gender specific services, outpatient groups, individual counseling, case management, peer support services, mental health and psychiatric services.  Send a question through our website or call our 24 hour Helpline at 419-522 HELP (4357).


Elaine Surber has served as Catalyst Life Services Executive Vice President, and Director of New Beginnings Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services since 2010.  As the Director of New Beginnings Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services, she provides administrative and clinical supervision, as well as program development and oversight. She currently serves as a member of the Richland County Opiate Board and the Ohio Alliance for Recovery Providers. .  Elaine has a bachelor’s degree in Substance Abuse Counseling from the University of Cincinnati.  She is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC-CS) with clinical supervision endorsement.  She has over thirty years of experience working in the behavioral health field. 

Language Access: COVID-19 Impact

In the middle of March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ohio, one barrier that became glaringly apparent was the lack of accessible language in many areas of society. This was shown through:

  • Masks blocking people’s faces so lip reading couldn’t happen and voices were muffled
  • Interpreters were limited from being brought into appointments when needed
  • Remote appointments were not always accessible due to a lack of interpreter or the platform not being user friendly

Now that we are four months down the road, here are a few tips to improve language access during the COVID-19 pandemic and any other time.

1. Being able to see the entire face is necessary for the grammar of American Sign Language. This means that a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing individual who uses American Sign Language to communicate will need to have their face seen by the interpreter and be able to see the face of the interpreter in order to have full language access. Access to and ability to use clear face masks or shields is necessary in order to make sure the language is accessible.

2. Face masks muffle the voice of the speaker. This means that the speaker may need to repeat themselves often and/or speaker louder in order to be heard by a hard-of-hearing individual who uses their residual hearing/hearing aids/cochlear implants for language access. These same individuals often read lips as well. Having access to be able to do this by having the speaker use a clear face mask or shields is necessary in order to make sure the language is accessible.

3. Families and friends are not appropriate interpreters for a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing individual who uses American Sign Language. Interpreters are required to follow the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Professional Conduct, receive education on American Sign Language and the interpreting process and laws, and trainings focused on interpreting. Professional American Sign Language interpreters are required to remain unbiased, interpret fully, and maintain confidentiality. Family and friends cannot fit all of these requirements, even if they can sign.

4. Video remote interpreters may not be the best choice for appointments. Deaf and hard-of-Hearing individuals who communicate using American Sign Language may not be able to see the video remote interpreter on the screen, may not understand the video remote interpreter, or may prefer a live in-person interpreter for many reasons. Another issue is that locations that choose to use video remote interpreters often don’t know how to use the equipment effectively, which can be very frustrating to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individual. When determining language access, these concerns need to be taken into consideration.

Contact us!

Catalyst Life Services Community Center for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing provides 24/7 American Sign Language interpreting in the counties of Ashland, Crawford, Huron, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca, and Wyandot. For more information, please call (419) 774-2232.


Tanya Haga is the Director of Deaf Services and has worked at Catalyst Life Services since 2014 in this role. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in American Sign Language Interpreting, a Master’s of Education and Master’s in Business Administration. She is also nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Tanya’s responsibilities include management and oversight of interpreting, captioning, case management for clients with a hearing loss, sign language classes, summer youth program, and contract and grant projects.