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River Region Human Services Helps to Rebuild Families in Jacksonville

By S. Mathur

Addiction tears apart families and communities. The consequences of substance abuse spread far beyond their impact on the life of a single person. Recognizing this reality, River Region Human Services (RRHS) offers a range of treatment, rehabilitation and support services, says Dietangal Heard, MS, CAP, Associate V.P. of Court and Community Services.

"River Region can be traced back to the late 60's working along with other entities to provide prevention services, residential, outpatient, and methadone treatment to the community. In 1972,we were all consolidated into one agency; River Region. We rebuild families by working with their loved ones by providing services that will increase the chances of that individual being a productive member of the family and community instead of a destructive member. We change lives by offering the continuum of care that our agency provides; Residential treatment, Outpatient treatment. Medication Assisted treatment, Mental Health Services, Case Management services, Housing services, HIV; outreach, counseling, and testing, and Medical services. We work with children and adults."

The mission of River Region Human Services is to "provide integrated health services that change lives, rebuild families, and restore communities."

"Our Youth and Family Program provides an array of services to youth and their families. We offer traditional outpatient counseling, we offer overlay services in many Duval County schools as well as private schools providing Intervention and Outpatient services to children who may be at risk for substance and behavioral issues and for youth that have those issues. We provide counseling to the families involved as well. We have programs to assist youth from going deeper into the criminal justice system. We provide School Break Recovery Programs to offer services such as conflict resolutions, self-esteem, job readiness, anger management during all of the breaks from school to build stronger confident youth."

RRHS was one of the first organizations in the region to address the issues of HIV/AIDS, says Heard: "River Region was in the forefront of the HIV epidemic providing services to this population when others did not. Our agency has been the recipient of several SAMHSA(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) grants to provide services to this population." Programs are funded by federal, state and local government grants and contracts and reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. With diminishing funds from these sources and growing demand for services, donations from the public are also welcomed.

Outreach to the community through HIV/AIDS testing and education, social media, support groups and the speakers bureau helps to get the word out about River Region's services as well as issues in substance abuse and HIV/AIDS . Annual fundraisers like the Golf Invitational and a Dance-a-thon involve the community in the effort to help families and youth.

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