For years, healthcare tended to view substance abuse disorders and mental health issues as two separate conditions needing separate treatment. Recently, however, research has shown that the two issues are often intertwined inpatient —leading to the need for a new kind of healthcare professional trained in treating both substance abuse and mental health issues.
A Clark College bachelor’s degree program is designed to meet this new need. The college’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services (BASHS) degree program is in its third year, and students from the program are getting “snatched up” for work before they even graduate, according to Dr. Marcia Roi, the program coordinator.
Roi meets with an advisory council of local employers once a quarter and said for years they’ve asked for a program like this. In the past, clients had a mental health counselor and a drug and alcohol counselor.
“We’re giving them the same thing in one person,” Roi said. “It’s a more holistic model.”
A more holistic model is certainly one that helps right now, with so many people struggling because of the pandemic and resulting quarantine. One of the most dangerous times for people with substance abuse or mental health disorder can be while they’re in isolation.