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:

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.

Richland County Court Systems Support Recovery

Catalyst Life Services has a strong partnership with the local court system to help individuals that struggle with mental health and substance use concerns.  This collaboration between the courts and treatment providers proves to be cost-effective and reduces recidivism.  Since September is recovery month, we wanted to highlight this impactful partnership.

Below you will learn about the different courts and hear from some of the judges and probation officers that help impact the lives of many through these important programs.


Richland County Court of Common Pleas: Felony Drug Court

Drug Court provides non-violent offenders whose criminal behavior arises from addiction with intensive supervision and proven substance abuse treatment programs to help them overcome their addiction. Drug Court protects the public, saves taxpayer dollars when compared to incarceration, and reduces recidivism rates. Drug court participants may enter the program as a diversion in lieu of conviction, while on probation after conviction, or as re-entry into the community following incarceration. The intervention program lasts a minimum of 18 months during which time participants receive intensive supervision from the Richland County Adult Probation Department and the Adult Parole Authority.

Interview with Judge Robinson:

“Drug Court is important because it gives low level felony substance abuse offenders the opportunity to overcome their substance abuse issues to become employed,  to learn how to maintain their sobriety and finally, how to become productive, happy and healthy citizens of this community.  Another important benefit of Drug Court is if the offenders are able to successfully complete the Drug Court program and graduate, their criminal case will be dismissed and the arrest record is sealed. This leaves the graduate free of a felony record.  Also, Drug Court graduates are much less likely to be arrested on new criminal charges then non-graduates.  Finally, Drug Court is important because it reduces overdoses and saves lives.

Drug Court graduation is one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had as a Judge.  To see a person who once was down and out and struggling with life then, with hard work and dedication over time, they overcome those challenges to become a respectable, responsible and sober person is wonderful.

To see the graduate happy, healthy, and confident brings happiness to me.  To hear the graduate express excitement about their future plans and goals is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever been a part of.” – Judge Robinson


Interview with JJ Bittinger, Chief Probation Officer:

“I have been involved in the Criminal Justice field for over 26 years. During that time I have been involved in uniformed law enforcement, specialty teams on both a state and federal level and for the last 18 years, as a probation officer for the Richland County Court Services. I have found that during my time rising through the ranks in the probation department to my current position as Chief that this part of the criminal justice system allows you the closest, hands on, participation in the changing of someone’s life. I have been through the “lock ’em up” phases and now into the more hands-on “behavioral changes” phase of community corrections. A person has to have a passion for this type of work because it does not come easy. You watch an offender try to change their lives over and over, with no success because they have not totally invested into the changes that need to be made. And rather than give up on these individuals, you continue to work with them, hoping that someday the changes take hold and they truly turn their lives around. When this happens, that is the reward for all of your hard work and dedication to helping others. 

I feel that the treatment and recovery part of changing an offender’s outcome is one of the most important parts of their success. If they are going to change, they need the tools to do it. It needs to be swift. Just as punishment needs to be swift to be effective, so does treatment and recovery. Being able to partner with Catalyst and utilize all of the programs they offer, allows us (Richland County Court Services) to be able to get our offenders the help they need, quickly and efficiently, which will only help in their recovery and treatment. Not every offender has the same needs as the next and being able to rely on our community partners to provide the treatment at the levels needed, is a great resource and contributes to the overall success of the offender and our programs here at the court. Combining all of these resources helps us reach our common goal and that is to increase the safety and security of our community and the residents of Richland County.” – JJ Bittinger

Alyse Schoeder, Catalyst Life Services gives a presentation to the probation officers about the new detox / withdrawal management facility.

Mansfield Municipal Court – Misdemeanor Treatment Court

Treatment Court is a specialty court that helps decrease the cycle and chance of recidivism, promotes treatment, and reduces stigma in regards to substance use. Treatment Court is beneficial because it  links individuals to needed treatment services instead of serving time in jail and can assist in promoting an individual out of the justice system and into a life of recovery. Participants currently meet twice a month with the Judge, have scheduled office visits with their probation officer, submit to random drug tests, and attend regular treatment sessions as recommended from their assessment.

Interview with Judge Ault

“I feel treatment court is essential for a number of reasons. Communication between the court, probation officers, and the treatment providers keeps everyone up to date on the progress of the people in treatment court, so that non-compliance can be addressed swiftly if necessary. Studies have shown this process will have much better outcomes than incarceration alone. It’s getting to the root of the problem, which is more effective. Treatment court holds all to a very high standard and provides more structure over all, which is beneficial for accountability and success in changing behaviors. Treatment court reduces recidivism, which not only helps the individual, but our community as a whole.

I believe recovery is a journey that encompasses a person’s whole life. Recovery is to attain and continue to live a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically” – Judge Ault


Interview with Taylor Godfrey & Lindsey Barth, Probation Officers:

“We enjoy making a difference in the lives of those who are struggling with addiction while involved in the criminal justice system.  It is a great feeling to see defendants who entered the system addicted, homeless, unemployed, and lost custody of their children transform into productive members of the community who have now obtained employment, obtained housing, are succeeding in their recovery, and regaining custody of their children.

Drug Courts increase accountability for defendants. We focus on the treatment and rehabilitation needs of each defendant while ensuring public safety and reducing recidivism. We work closely with treatment providers to develop the best plan of action for each person. Treatment plans are individualized; what works for one person, may not work for another.

When a defendant graduates the program or even when they opt to sit their jail time, we encourage them to reach out for help if they are ever struggling. I have had many defendants reach out for help, which allowed us to connect them with services before they entered the criminal judges system again.” – Taylor Godfrey & Lindsey Barth

Deanna Roberts, Catalyst Life Services with probation officers from the Mansfield Municipal Court.

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.

July Newsletter

July is National Minority Mental Health Month, created to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental health in the United States. We strive to ensure Catalyst is an agent of change in our community for the health and well-being of ALL those we serve! 

Click below to view our video promoting Minority Mental Health Month!

Did You Know?

Our Employment Specialist assist individuals with barriers to employment by assisting with creating resumes, facilitating career exploration, providing interview preparation, computer training, job support, and many other skills to achieve competitive job placement?

Do you think you could benefit from meeting with an Employment Specialist? Call Progress Industries at 419-774-2248. 

Q&A with Mitch Jacobsen

1. What is your title and how long have you worked at Catalyst?    

Director of Vocational Services and I’ve worked at Catalyst for a little over 6 years.            

2. Can you share about some of the services and programs Progress Industries provides?    

Progress Industries is our industrial division of Catalyst Life Services.   

We offer low cost manufacturing solutions to other manufacturers in the Mansfield and Richland County area. Some of the things you might see an employee at Progress Industries (PI) doing might be, assembling flap valves for Gorman Rupp pumps, converting blown film bags for Next Generation Films, performing Quality Control or Inspection on parts produced at Rable Machine, or packaging and kitting components for Warren Rupp.   

A secondary, but equally important component to PI would be our embroidery and print division, which services customers all over the state with embroidered or printed apparel products, as well as vinyl signs and banner products. We have a highly trained team in this division and generally attempt to recruit employees with a high degree of attention to detail and ability to follow instructions from the PI manufacturing floor.

3: How does Progress Industries help clients attain employment?

By giving them the skills needed for success in the workplace. We are not “simulated employment” in the shops, we are the real deal. We teach the hard skills like assembly, quality control and inspection, basic machine operation, knowledge of PPE and safety, shipping and receiving – and we require some of the softer skills like ability to follow instructions and work independently, attention to detail, communication and teamwork. These are the skills that are needed for community employment. These are the skills that are needed for almost any position and our clients can gain them at PI.

4. What do you think is something most people don’t know about Vocational Services?

Our programs have more than doubled in size in the past five years, so it can be hard to keep up with some of the growth and new programs we’re offering.   

Our vocational services are integrated within many other components of Catalyst as an organization. This is a necessity, as we need to be responsive both to the needs of Catalyst as an organization and we need to be responsive to the local labor market and the businesses with open positions. 

We have vocational representatives in other treatment team meetings, providing groups to the unit, meeting with clients who are in the recovery process and seeking employment for long-term stability, as well as a team that is specifically geared toward transitional age youth (ages 14-24). We work with this population to navigate the complexities of the working world and offer some exciting ancillary services such as paid work experiences and driver’s education training. 

5. What do you like most about working at Catalyst?

I love how dynamic Catalyst is as an organization! We are at the forefront of solving major issues on a micro and macroscopic scale. We are constantly developing new programming to meet the needs of the persons served and the needs of the community at large. Working here is one of the most rewarding things, as you have a chance to celebrate the successes of your clients almost every single day. 

6. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yeah! We are always hiring for the vocational workshop. We have first and second shift positions (8-12, 12-4) and are generally open Monday through Friday. While we cannot accept individuals with a history of violent or sexual offenses, we are generally flexible with other legal barriers to employment and would be happy to discuss an individual on your caseload with you on a more personal basis.

Staff Appreciation

     “Major shout out to our industrial workshop and embroidery and print staff! The past few months have been filled with a lot of uncertainty. However, these staff members have continued to come to work and focus on the needs at hand.  Our customers produce products for the automotive, agricultural, and medical industries, requiring us to stay open and keep up with production to continue keeping shelves stocked and the world moving forward. 

     These staff and clients have put forth tremendous effort in adapting to new safety procedures.Thank you to the production staff and clients, we truly could not do it without you!”

– Mitch Jacobsen, Director of Vocational Services

Community Support

We are so grateful to ‘The Women’s Fund of The Shelby Foundation’!

We are one of the 3 local nonprofits they awarded grants to during the COVID-19 pandemic.