(L to R) Front: Cherokee Nation Health Services Medical Director Dr. Roger Montgomery, Behavioral Health Clinic Administrator Joni Duffield, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Behavioral Health Director Mark Taylor. Back: Health Services Deputy Executive Director Dr. Charles Grim, Evidence-Based Intervention Specialist Hannah LaBounty, Licensed Masters Social Worker Kristin Avance, HERO Project Director Dr. Misty Boyd, Licensed Professional Counselor Chris Wofford, clerk Amanda Crow, Customer Service Family Care Manager Andrea McCause, Special Assistant Sandy Houston, Administrative Officer Juli Skinner and Child Wellness Coordinator Ashley Lincoln.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —Cherokee Nation’s HERO Project, a place that counsels Native children on how to cope with everything from abuse to doing better in school, just opened a new 7,300-square-foot office in Tahlequah.
The Helping Everyone Reach Out Project, a division under the tribe’s behavioral health program, is now at 1510 Shawnee Circle, formerly called the Cascades Building. Before, it shared space in a building with other health programs.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the new, inviting space gives Cherokee citizens and Native children more privacy when entering for appointments and comfort during what can be trying times.
“A lot of people had a hand in making this new location become a reality, whether it was the folks that secured the space for us, or those caring employees working in the facility that take care of our young people,” Chief Baker said. “It’s a wonderful asset to add into our health care system. Now Cherokee and other Native children have a safe and comfortable place to come and get the services that will help them. This location is easily found, but it’s not too out in the open in order to better protect these kids.”
According to Dr. Roger Montgomery, Cherokee Nation Health Services medical director, more than 500 visits were made to the HERO Project in June alone. Since the program officially started in 2013, they have gone from no children’s behavioral health visits to 1,523 in 2014 and 2,434 so far in 2015.
“One of my children reached a crisis in his life, and fortunately he reached out and received help,” Montgomery said. “The success of the HERO Project is the transformation that has occurred in the lives of Native American children served by the program’s staff. For that, I am very thankful.”
Each member of the HERO Project staff has education and experience in social work to provide counseling and other resources, including Triple-P, a parenting education class focused on child behavior; HERO Builders, a parent support and information sharing group; and PAX Good Behavior Game, which is used in some area schools to help children reach valued goals.
For more information on the HERO Project or community parenting groups, call 918-772-4004.
Cherokee Nation News Release
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