Cardinal Innovations Collecting School Supplies for Students Affected by Florence

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Elliot Clark, senior community executive for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, and Amanda Burrafato, marriage and family therapist and substance abuse counselor with Recovery Innovations, were the guests of honor on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program.

Clark announced that Cardinal Innovations has partnered with Trillium Health Resources in eastern NC to purchase 1,000 bookbags for special education students affected by Hurricane Florence. Today through Tuesday, October 16, the organization is requesting the public’s help in filling these bookbags with much-needed school supplies.

Requested supplies include pencils, wide-ruled notebooks, markers, crayons, glue sticks and prepackaged snacks. Donations may be brought to the Cardinal Innovations office located at 134 S. Garnett St. in Henderson on weekdays from now until Tuesday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

In regard to their decision to focus efforts on students in the Exceptional Children’s program, Clark responded, “Relief efforts across the state have been impressive, but there are certain pockets of the population that need a little more concentration and this is one of them.”

The local five-county branch of Cardinal Innovations works with the Vance, Granville, Franklin, Warren and Halifax communities and providers to cover mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services for Medicaid.

“Large in part, we cover services and we pay providers to do the work. We do the work as far as community service, care coordination, advocacy and education, but the treatment component depends on the providers,” said Clark.

One such valued provider, according to Clark, is Recovery Innovations located at 300 W. Parkview Dr. in Henderson. Recovery Innovations offers facility-based crisis and non-hospital detox services to residents on a 3-7 day stay basis.

“We are step number one,” said Burrafato. “We’re the mental health/substance abuse version of a hospital stopping the bleeding. We’re keeping people safe, restarting medication and allowing them to get sober. We get you safe and get you connected to the next stop.”

According to Burrafato, addiction is often the result of the addict battling depression or using inherited coping strategies. “A lot of times when we see someone who is addicted, it is someone who has gone through traumatic events or they are trying to run from depression.”

“Often times it is also hereditary,” Burrafato said. “What we see are generations of people learning to cope using substances and using patterns that have been ingrained.”

Burrafato said each person’s case is different and her organization prides itself on offering a choice. “People are meeting with doctors, our RN, our peer support workers and people who are in recovery themselves. Throughout, they are developing a plan that is unique to them.”

To further assist with the area’s mental health and substance abuse needs, a Wellness Alliance associated with Vance, Granville and Franklin community partners has been established. The group meets every other month on the fourth Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Cardinal Innovations Healthcare office in Henderson.

“Leadership from Recovery Innovations – Amanda in particular – has helped put together a more outreaching Wellness Alliance. They go out to different organizations and county departments to get a sense of the needs and respond to those needs with training or particular services,” said Clark.

One such area of need is additional assistance battling the crippling opioid crisis. “The conversation [on opioids] is not discriminating against who it is reaching anymore,” said Burrafato. “It can start with a car accident or a doctor’s prescription and before long it is spiraling out of control.”

“It doesn’t discriminate against age, race or creed. Shining a spotlight on the opioid crisis has made the conversation more available to the community.”

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