The experience of recovery can vary greatly from one person to the next. This is your opportunity to share your experience with others. If you or a family member has received services at Compass Health and you would like to share your success story, please fill out the following form.
Some stories do not have fairytale endings. When a story has an ending that creates a true new beginning, the process can be healing and miraculous in itself.
Jenny was nine years old when her grandmother brought her in to Compass Health. She was failing fourth grade and was acting out her rage and grief. Her father was in jail and her mother had lost her home.
After a few months’ working with Jenny and getting her on track in therapy, Jenny’s mother’s condition deteriorated and she ended up being taken to the local jail. Mother and daughter both needed help.
Our Compass Health clinician went to see Jenny’s mother and began to work with her. She helped her work through some of her own issues and to look at her parenting and relationships in a more loving and realistic way. Our clinician helped Jenny’s mother speak to her daughter in more appropriate ways; to tell her that she loved her and to let Jenny know that she wasn’t going to be able to take care of her at that time. Jenny’s mother released her parental rights, making a personal sacrifice for the well-being of her daughter.
Finally, Jenny was able to settle down into a good school routine, and she and her grandmother marked her adoption with a big celebration! Mother and daughter are now busy living new stories, with more options for better endings.
Michael first came to Compass Health 15 years ago. Chronically homeless, struggling with addiction and without a natural support system, he floated between Compass Health’s PACT (Program of Assertive Community Treatment), intensive outpatient, and outpatient programs. Michael made progress during his treatment periods (coming to meetings, regularly taking his medications) but as soon as he left a program. he went off his medication, was back on the streets, and often was arrested for trespassing.
After numerous arrests, Michael was admitted to Western State Hospital where he remained for 3 years. He made improvements in taking his medications and working with mental health professionals on a release plan and eventually was discharged and moved into Compass Health’s Aurora House on a court order.
Some time passed before Michael was able to engage and socialize with the clinicians and other residents. With help from his clinician, he created a treatment plan to address his behavioral health, general health, vocational/educational/housing needs, and social supports. For 18 months, Michael steadily progressed and moved toward a discharge date.
One of Michael’s goals was to find housing to provide stability and keep him on the road to recovery. He found a clean and sober house within biking distance to his sessions with his new counselor. With his history of treatment and milestones in mind, he now lives in an environment that keeps him accountable.
Michael now rides his bike to his meetings with his PACT counselor. Through all of this, his biggest fear was getting off his medications, but Michael doesn’t see that happening anymore: “I know that I have thoughts that aren’t real, but I can see that the medications can help me live on my own and make me happy and healthy.”
Brianna is a 15 year-old female who was suffering from depression. Unable to attend school due to high levels of social anxiety and chronic suicidal thoughts, her guardian felt it was imperative that Brianna not be left alone. Her guardian reached out to VOA (Volunteers of America) Care Crisis Line for help and was referred to the Compass Health CPIT (Crisis Prevention and Intervention Teams) program.
When the CPIT clinician and peer counselor arrived at the client’s house, Brianna was isolated in her bedroom and took several minutes to come out to speak with Compass Health staff. Brianna was withdrawn with averted eye contact and her voice was barely audible.
She gradually began to describe symptoms consistent with major depression: sleep and appetite issues, low motivation, high levels of anxiety, a depressed mood with suicidal thoughts of a plan to either overdose, cut her wrists or to hang herself.
Through the course of the assessment, Brianna let the Compass Health CPIT staff know that she was hearing voices telling her to end her life on a daily basis. The voices were also attacking Brianna’s self-esteem. It became clear that immediate resources were needed to help this young woman.
A call was placed to a Fairfax hospital, which specializes in treating adolescents in acute psychiatric distress.
Fortunately, they had a bed available and the appropriate steps were taken in order to secure placement for Brianna. Her guardian agreed to take Brianna directly to the hospital where the she stayed for seven days. Fairfax administered medication to treat the psychosis, depression, and anxiety symptoms that Brianna was experiencing. Brianna participated in group therapy with an emphasis on coping skills.
After 10 days Brianna returned home, the volume on the voices was turned down, her sleep was improved, and she was feeling that the group experience at the hospital had been especially effective.
However, as an individual who has experienced significant trauma, a chaotic childhood and a drug addicted parent, Brianna faced some serious challenges with ongoing stability.
The Compass Health CPIT team was again involved with this young woman just 10 days after her hospitalization.
Although there had been some visible changes, Brianna had ongoing suicidal thoughts. To complicate matters, her guardian was going out of town for four days and could not guarantee her safety.
Again, the hospital was called and a bed became available the next morning.
Brianna is safe and getting the necessary treatment and support, which includes both medication and therapy. Compass Health CPIT teams have reached out to Brianna several times since this experience to make sure she is stable and feeling supported in her environment.
Brianna has voiced her gratitude toward the Compass Health CPIT team when she was called for a follow up appointment. “I didn’t know there was someone to call when I needed help,” says Brianna, “Now I have the number on the refrigerator.”
I didn't know there was someone to call when I needed help... now I have the number of my refrigerator.
Dealing with the death of a spouse or child is one of the hardest things in life. For some, their grief completely takes over and they turn to drugs or alcohol just to get through the day. Two years ago Caleb lost his wife. His grief and anger were so intense that he started to use alcohol to cope with how he was feeling. It started with an occasional drink here and there, but this eventually turned into an addiction that took over Caleb’s life. As his life spiraled out of control, Caleb lost his job and later his housing. His only option was living on the street.
After ending up in a detox unit, Caleb was transferred to Compass Health. The Compass Health team immediately scheduled him with a Compass Health clinician and helped Caleb get a primary care provider through one of our partners. We were able to help him secure income again through Peer Support, and we worked with Caleb to get a free cell phone through a low-income program. Caleb’s clinician worked with him to contact the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation so he could enroll in their services and work on finding a new job. Caleb came to the Triage Center at Compass Health to meet with the Opportunity Council to apply for their Homeless Services and Housing, scheduled an interview for Clean and Sober Housing, and was accepted to the Special Needs Unit at the mission.
For many, the road to recover can be a long and challenging one. Compass Health was able to use all of our internal resources available to help Caleb, and work with him on contacting resources to help him get back on his feet. Caleb is certainly well on his way, and Compass Health will be there with him every step of the way.
As I go about my work days at Compass Health, I am often reminded that I’m surrounded by co-workers who exhibit such good care for our clients and for each other. I’m grateful to be part of this strong, compassionate, and dedicated Compass Health workforce.
Catherine Hussman, Healthcare Integration Manager
My co-workers are so supportive and I have a very positive relationship with them – we can joke around and also collaborate around work. It is important to feel comfortable in my work environment and I look forward to coming to work every day. I love my job.
Felicia Petty, Adult Outpatient Clinician 1
Thanks to her Compass Health Care Coordinator, Janis has been able to get through a pretty traumatic period in her life. Janis had just experienced a painful break-up with her significant other and was facing new and challenging health conditions resulting from a fall off her front porch and declining health. The accident had left Janis with constant pain in her back, neck, and hands, as well as crippling headaches.
Janis had begun engagement with the Health Homes program at a time in her life when critical issues regarding abuse from her past were just emerging. The memories of her abuse were causing Janie to engage in self-harm and were negatively impacting her other personal relationships. Janis had fallen into crisis and was admitted to the hospital to stabilize.
The Care Coordinator visited with Janis and her family while she was in the hospital to discuss care expectations and discharge planning. Prior to her crisis, Janis had been in the midst of trying to get a Community Options Program Entry (COPES) caregiver, was managing a lot of new prescriptions and needed assistance submitting paperwork to challenge a denial from Social Security regarding a disability claim. She was trying to cope with all of this while experiencing significant pain from her accident and the unsettling re-emergence of her past abuse. Once Janis was released from the hospital and back home, the Care Coordinator and her support network worked to make sure she had the assistance and resources that she needed.
The Care Coordinator worked with Genoa Healthcare pharmacy to provide Janis her medications in specialized individual bubble-packaging so that she could keep track of the dosage of her medication; this is a hallmark of the services provided by Genoa Healthcare. Janis’s Care Coordinator made sure that she got the medical equipment she needed, and she began seeing a pain specialist and neurologist to get help with her frequent and debilitating headaches and joint pain.
The Care Coordinator helped Janis enter into Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a therapy plan designed to help people change patterns of behavior that are not helpful, such as self-harm, suicidal thinking, and substance abuse and family therapy. The Care Coordinator organized a review with the Department of Social and Health Services, and Janis’s caregivers hours were increased to full-time status. The Care Coordinator was also able to connect Janis with a free legal advocate who is currently working on her Social Security denial case.
As part of her therapy work to overcome her abusive trauma, Janis reports that she is learning how to recognize emotions in others and respond appropriately. She also is very thankful for her Care Coordinator, her Legal Advocate, and Caregiver. She reports that she is getting better at “asking for help when I need it.” Although her painful memories and physical pain have not gone away completely, Janis is home with her two kitties and feels that she is “on the way to being much, much better” now that she has a supportive team in place!
Margaret, a 59-year old woman, came down from Alaska to Washington to be with her daughter following the death of her husband. For several months Margaret reportedly had been disorganized, confused, and had suffered injuries. She was wandering off and getting lost in the community.
Adult Protective Services and Home and Community Services became involved and worked to identify appropriate housing and treatment. When Margaret’s issues returned, she was taken to the emergency room. She required involuntary hospitalization and was admitted to the Compass Health – Evaluation & Treatment Facility in Mukilteo where she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Dementia.
Margaret did not initially engage in her treatment, but with the help of her daughter, she was encouraged to follow through with her treatment. She continued to struggle to understand why she was detained and could not live independently. Eventually she began to connect with staff and peers, attend groups, and take her medications.
After Margaret stabilized, she was discharged to an assisted living facility. However, after changes were made to her medication, many of Margaret’s previous symptoms returned and she was once again sent to the E&T. Margaret’s crisis was challenging, but also provided her with opportunities for change and recovery.
After readmission to Compass Health, Margaret quickly stabilized and adjusted to the routine at the E&T. She became proactive in supporting staff and was often times referred to as “momma bear” by both the staff and her peers. Margaret’s sister from Oregon became increasingly involved in her treatment. Margaret’s sister and brother-in-law offered to allow her to come live on their property in her own apartment.
After discharge, Margaret’s sister has remained in contact with Compass Health, sending us pictures and updates on Margaret’s progress. We are frequently reminded of how grateful they are to Compass Health for the care that her sister received while she was in Mukilteo.
Margaret continues to follow her wellness plan. She receives Medicaid through the State of Oregon and has applied for Social Security to give her freedom and the greatest possible independence to enjoy life. Her sister looks in on her regularly, because some days are confusing while others are really good.
Margaret is thriving in the community and now has the ability to do endless gardening, which is how she spent most of her time with her late husband.
I have been working in the mental health field for seven years now and Compass Health has the best working environment that I have experienced in that time. Compass Health provides excellent non-monetary benefits, and as a lifelong learner, I especially appreciate the educational support and funding and the available online training courses. I have a supervisor that I can trust and feel comfortable with, and my coworkers perform their work professionally and with compassion for the clients. My favorite quote is, “It takes the darkness to see the stars”. Here at Compass Health, working as a certified Peer Counselor, I can help those clients in the darkness, see the stars by sharing my own story. I am delighted to be working here. Thank you everyone at Compass Health.
Paula Parmenter, CPIT Peer Counselor