Diversity and Inclusion in Recovery
Recovery is a lifelong process that takes hard work and dedication, but for many members of society the recovery process is made even more challenging by discrimination and bias, be it for their religion, culture, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Addressing the topics of diversity and inclusion is important to us year-round, but especially during Pride Month in June. To that end, we’ve created a Multicultural Group comprised of key members of our staff, which meets monthly and discusses how to embrace the differences in one another, how to promote equity in recovery, and creates and schedules trainings for staff.
According to the Recovery Research Institute, it is estimated that 30% of LGBTQ+ individuals suffer from some form of addiction, compared to 9% in the general population. Katie Cleaver, who works as an Admissions Counselor at Hudson and is rooted in the local LGBTQ+ community, says the percentage of LGBTQ+ patients she sees come through her door is much lower than what she would expect.
“Especially when it comes to trans people, there is a significant fear that their gender identity will not be recognized by staff or other patients. Many members of the trans community struggle with even going to a primary care physician due to distrust, so asking for help with substance use issues is even more of a challenge.”
Katie assesses each incoming patient with a Bio-Psych-Social assessment, where she learns about all areas of the patient’s life. She shared with us that nearly half of incoming patients are homeless or about to be homeless, which is a trigger for addiction.
On the other end of the spectrum, Residential Aftercare Coordinator and Case Manager Jason Burroughs sees patients as they are nearing the end of their stay on the Hudson campus. He helps them plan after-care, find appropriate housing, and arrange any additional treatment.
As a member of the Multicultural Group and openly gay man, Jason notes that most recovery-based organizations are not built for the LGBTQ+ community, so often LGBTQ+ patients encounter barriers to care that prevent them from seeking help.
“Many trans people struggle with their gender identity and whether it will be respected by a recovery facility, or they will be housed with their sex assigned at birth,” said Jason. “Clinical Director Michele Sterling has done a commendable job advocating for trans patients to start out in a separate room, and then decide where they’re comfortable living on campus.”
Future plans for the Multicultural Group include partnering with local health departments and other community groups to schedule a safe space training about gender identities, plan a religious training to understand values and specialized needs, and look into ways to improve accommodations for patients who speak English as a second language.
Katie Cleaver | Admissions Counselor
Jason Burroughs | Residential Aftercare Coordinator & Case Manager
Hudson Behavioral Health was formed in 1980 (as Hudson Health Services, Inc.) to bring the first residential recovery program to the Eastern Shore. Today, thousands of patients later, we remain the leader in recovery programs and resources, with our staff of 100 committed to serving each patient as an individual.