New Stabilization Center on Whidbey Island Helps Client in a Mental Health Crisis

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Julie Moore, Certified Peer Specialist (pictured) at the new Ituha Stabilization Center (Ituha) in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, shared a story with us about the second person admitted to the new center after it was opened in June 2021. Ituha offers a monitored and safe setting for individuals withdrawing from alcohol and drugs, and counseling for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. All services are provided where intensive medical monitoring and stabilization is required. The goal of these services is to assess a client’s mental health and substance use disorder related needs, and assist them in accessing all the services they need to recover.

Mike is Admitted to Ituha

Mike is 19 years old and entered Ituha for mental health stabilization services along with some substance use detoxification. At the time of entrance, he was unemployed and homeless. When staff started to engage with him, they discussed his past with compassion to help him to open up so they could provide and refer him to all the services he needed.

Mike has a history of repeated trauma, physical and emotional abuse, domestic violence, mental health hospitalizations, substance abuse and is currently on probation for five years. He was disconnected from his immediate family and had gone through a recent painful relationship break up. Prior to his admission to Ituha, he had three major suicide attempts. After entering the center, Mike eventually revealed that he had thought about another suicide plan.  Mike shared, “I planned to do a bunch of Molly, get in the bathtub and slit my wrists." However, he also admitted he wanted and needed help!

Julie Moore shared, “Mike was open to get help – he knew he needed it. He expressed interest in going to a mental health facility for treatment. That spark of light in him told me he wanted to live and build a path to recovery.”

Staff Provides Services and Hope

While at Ituha, Mike became hopeful. He really opened up and started talking and sharing his personal feelings with staff and other clients that entered the center after him. 

Julie Moore added, “He started to be able to help others by sharing his story. I watched him change!  He transformed into a person who valued his life. Mike began to really believe he had a purpose, and that may be the reason he never succeeded in ending his own life!

Ituha staff continued to working with Mike and he met with mental health professionals on staff and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner to help him manage his prior suicide ideations. He also started up on needed mental health medications. It was agreed upon that he would follow up with a mental health prescriber to continue his medication regime. Mike shared that he really wanted to get stable housing, while continuing his medications, and find work to build a career and save money.

Back in the Community

After his mental health stabilization treatment at Ituha, Mike was discharged back into his community with a mental health plan in place. He started with attending AA and NA meetings on a regular basis to help him build a support group in the community. Julie Moore does the follow up calls three to five days after clients discharge and said, “When I called Mike, he shared with me that he had found housing and already secured a job! His new boss was very kind and had actually loaned Mike a car for work until he could get his own. Mike was over the moon and so grateful for all the support and guidance he had received – including some food stamps. He sounded very happy."

In working with fragile and struggling individuals, the Ituha team witnesses hardships and many tragedies. Julie Moore stated, “It always takes my breath away when I follow up with a past client and realize that this person has overcome the struggle and received a second chance at life. The possibilities that open when a human being receives a HOME – KINDNESS AND COMPASSION – TREATMENT AND COUNSELING – EMPLOYMENT are endless! These are all major life changing events. I am so proud to share Mike’s journey and the endless possibilities that await him!