Fairbanks Native Association (FNA), in collaboration with the 22-member FNA-sponsored Behavioral Health Community Coalition (BHCC), is applying for the SAMHSA “Recovery Community Services Program.” The purpose of this program is to provide peer recovery support services to individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) or co-occurring substance use and mental disorders (COD), including those in recovery from these disorders.
To meet the recovery support service and healing needs of the target population FNA proposes the Athabascan Drop-In Recovery Center (Recovery Center). All required and other services will be provided on-site at this center. The Recovery Center will be a welcoming environment focused on enhancing long-term recovery. The target population, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) with SUD or COD, are a highly at-risk group that needs to heal from the effects of cultural disruption, boarding schools, intergenerational trauma, substance abuse, and mental illness before recovery is achievable. To address this, the Recovery Center is guided by Athabascan values and premised on the concept of “cultural healing,” a concept that reconnects people to the vibrancy and strengths of their culture and in doing so, enhances health and wellness (Network for Public Health Law, n.d.). Teaching in Alaska Native arts connects clients to their culture and strengthens their sense of identity, which is key to adapting to an ever-changing world dominated by a non-Native culture.
The Recovery Center will be open seven days a week and staffed by Peer Support Specialists. It will be an alcohol and drug free safe space for interacting with peers with couches, comfortable chairs, computer stations, a television, and art stations. Weekly groups will include services centered on Athabascan values including Recovery Support, Talking Circle, Alaska Native Art, Evidence-Based Family Training, Elder Involvement, American Indian Life Skills Training, Employment Counseling, and Community Service. The Recovery Center will serve 190 individuals - including youth, adults, and family members - over the first five years. A Peer Outreach Specialist will conduct outreach including street outreach to recruit clients and raise awareness of recovery support provided by FNA’s Behavioral Health Service department and the Behavioral Health Community Coalition’s System of Care support services. A locally-raised Athabascan (contractor) will train and mentor the Peer Project Director throughout the project tenure in culturally-specific service strategies.
*FNA serves both American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) by mutual agreement