As the drug epidemic continues to spread, more effort for recovery is needed. However, recovery is not a one-size-fit-all case, especially for those single mothers with substance use disorder.
Marshall Health identified a gap in recovery options for pregnant women with substance use disorder, leading to Project Hope, a nonprofit in Huntington, opening in 2018.
“We’re all pathways to recovery. Someone can come in on medical assisted treatment or they can be abstinence based,” said Jessica Tackett, director. “Our requirements are you have to have children up to the age of 12, a least 50% custody or doing a reunification with your children or be pregnant.”
Project Hope is a residential treatment facility that helps woman adjust to recovery, with their children.
“We have 17 apartments. So, each woman and a family – we don’t take men – but their children have their own apartment,” Tackett said. “Either a one bedroom or a two-bedroom apartment [is available]. We have a courtyard, playground equipment, basketball, cornhole, you name it we’ve pretty much got it outside.”
Tackett said the program is person centered, with clients staying an average of four to six months.
“What works for you may not work for me,” Tackett said.
The program also offers many of the recovery services at the main facility.
“We do everything in-house except for medical appointments and medical assisted treatment,” Tackett said. “So, we do individual case management, group, parenting, therapy, we do all of that here. And then we work with Proact, which is a Marshall Health facility for women for their psychiatric needs and their medical assistant treatment needs.”
The program has seen 50-60 clients in the nearly three years it has been opened.
“We’ve had to discharge some, some need a higher level of care than our facility and we’re getting ready to graduate four more out of our facility in the next month or two, hopefully,” Tackett said.
While the program keeps mothers with their children, it also offers services for children – many who were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
“That’s where I work with Pam Holland and Marianna. They help us with Kid’s Clinic,” Tackett said. “They come in, do the assessments, do the observations and then help us to refer out if we need to, like birth to three. They do the eye stuff too, so they came in and figured out one of our kid’s needed eye surgery and glasses. They are a great asset to our program, too.”
Project Hope has two therapists, a program assistant, a driver, three family navigators, a clinical psychologist, three peer recover coaches and one peer recovery coach who focuses on overall wellness – including exercise classes, individual plans and healthy eating.
While some treatment centers release individuals once the treatment time is completed, Project Hope will not release someone who is unable to find housing despite their best efforts, Tackett said.
“We try to have them housing. And that’s what our case managers, our family navigators do to ensure they have housing,” Tackett said. “We’ve only had a couple that didn’t have housing and we set them up to go to the mission, because they didn’t do anything they were supposed to do when it came to housing or they were fine with going to the mission, so they could save money.”
Tackett said substance use disorder usually picks up other disorders that fall under poly-substance use disorder. She said it will always be a struggle for people.
“We are a smoke-free facility too, because research has shown that if you can quit everything, your chances of relapsing are very slim compared to doing that,” Tackett said.
Project Hope has a thriving success rate and Tackett believes it is due to the connections made with clients.
“Whenever they [clients] graduate, they still keep in contact with us,” Tackett said. “They come back and do group and they come back, and lead group and they keep in contact with most of my staff.”
The program also does not end just because a client graduate.
“My recovery coaches, they follow them a year and then a lot of times still keep in contact with us, even if they’re gone a year,” Tackett said. “You know, our first client that came on December 26, 2018, we still talk to her. She comes and drops off donations for the clients, so we’re still in contact with her.”
The program is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with clinical and residential staff. Project Hope is funded through grants and donations.
Tackett said they are always taking donations; they also have an Amazon Wishlist on their website for more information.
“I just wish that people would see what I see,” Tackett said. “When these clients come in and when they leave here and they graduate, they’re not even the same person. They’re productive citizens again. And people do recover, and that’s the thing I want people to understand, that people do recover.”
Brittany Hively can be contacted at [email protected]