Recovery networking in Columbiana County

LISBON – Everyone has recovered from something…a broken heart, a broken limb, an illness, an addiction. Today’s discussion is about the network for recovery in Columbiana County.

“Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even with limitations caused by mental illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness…” writes William Anthony, director of the Boston Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.

Hope, empowerment, spirituality, education and knowledge, support, self-help, medication and treatment all are involved in the recovery process.

In our county, there is a network of agencies that helps to ensure a caring environment that provides validation, encouragement and support to members of our community who are recovering from mental illness.

Do you suspect there is a problem that you can’t handle alone? Perhaps you fear that someone you care about is suicidal and you don’t know what to do. You may be a victim of crime or there is a question about safe schools or senior citizens’ well being. A good place for you to start is at Help Hotline Crisis Center. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day.

The non-profit, private corporation serves Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties and can be reached at 330-424-7767, 330-747-2697 or 1-800-427-3606. Also under Help Hotline is the Peer Warmline (1-866-303-7337) which provides support to individuals who are coping with mental health, alcohol or drug problems. The Warmline is available from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

A part of preparing your journey to mental health is making choices before you begin with an advance directive declaration for mental health treatment.

This legal document empowers you to state your treatment preferences and to name a person to make those decisions if or when you are unable to make sound decisions about your health care.

A free recovery program of eight group sessions, WMR (Wellness, Management and Recovery) is presented at the Counseling Center and includes information on general health and wellness issues, mental health and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.

WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) provides instruction for how to develop a personal action plan for mental health. Trained peers teach the clients to understand that things can and do get better, but there is no magic pill, no easy solution that someone can give you. YOU are responsible for your illness and your recovery. You learn to stand up for yourself, to make your needs known. You learn how to find the right people for your support system.

The three-day training is free. Each participant takes home a completed personal WRAP plan. The classes are offered in Lisbon and free transportation is available.

Shining Reflections in East Liverpool was founded in 1986 and “Provides peer, job and socialization support, education and training focused on recovery that identifies and responds to the changing needs of people with mental illness and other disabilities.” Shining Reflections provides vocational training and the beginning steps to socialization, community and employment. Support is given through outreach, discussion groups, activities and special events. Workshops focus on life skills, job skills, wellness and education.

One of the self-help programs at Shining Reflections is BRIDGES (Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals through Education and Support.) The 10-week free program strives to empower recovering people in taking active roles in their own treatment and recovery and is offered in April and August. The Leadership Workgroup also meets at Shining Reflections.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides family support to help those who are accepting and coping with a loved one diagnosed with a mental illness, a learning time for those newly diagnosed family members, and an opportunity for family members to help reduce the stigma associated with a mental illness diagnosis.

NAMI’s Family to Family class is a free 12-week program on mental illness, the brain, medications, and improving your communication skills. It is presented at the Counseling Center. Linda Eells is the contact at 330-424-5772.

The Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board promotes these programs and others, including the Community Involvement Workgroup, Friends of Recovery, Hand in Hand (Path) and the Socialization Workgroup. Both Community Involvement and Socialization are presented at the MHRS Board offices. Hand in Hand is a program in which volunteers work with professional staff to identify and locate homeless people with mental illness. Contact Patti Wilms (330-424-9573, extension 394 or Chris Engoian, extension 284. For more information about the above programs, contact Maureen Boales at 330-420-9621, extension 105

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs.

To learn more about its Sustaining Recovery program, as well as other programs of the Center, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468 or e-mail,

FRC is funded, in part, by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and United Way of Northern Columbiana County.