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Care Coordinators Expand Services

When prospective clients walk into The Center for Counseling & Consultation, a four-person team is at the ready to direct them to resources that fit their particular circumstance.

The Care Coordinator (CC) team leader is John Pohl. His colleagues are Tavanna Ridgeway, who focuses on admissions and paperwork. Jeff McQuade specializes in helping Veterans, while Danielle Fahrney is available to people with substance use issues.

"We care for the whole person," Pohl said. "One of the first things we do is determine if they have a primary-care provider. If they don't, we try to connect them to the right place.

"A primary-care doctor has a big impact on what we can accomplish. When clients have their own provider, they are more likely to have an exam and take better care of themselves."

The CC staff often determines early on that a prospective client faces more than one issue. These could include substance use, veterans' concerns, poor coping skills, housing or employment problems and /or specific mental health issues.

"We have an incredible overlap with mental health and substance use," Pohl noted. "Veterans have these issues too but they have a different mindset. They have gone from a structured way of life, to very little structure. Unfortunately, the transition is rough.

Oftentimes, veterans don't get help because they are used to toughing it out. They were trained to tough it out. But they no longer have the camaraderie and leadership the military provides. The suicide rate is high.

Pohl emphasized that CC staff members collaborate with each other constantly to ensure the client gets help as soon as possible. "We brainstorm to find which resources best fit the person." Pohl commented. This is the strength of our team. "The last thing we want is for a client to walk away because they couldn't talk with someone soon enough. They have a sense of urgency. And so do we."

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