Meridian launches Early Recovery Team program

Feb 12, 2017

Meridian Behavioral Health added the Early Recovery Team (ERT) program on Nov. 1, 2016, which is funded in part through a $82,5000 grant from the Evergreen Foundation.

ERT is an alternative community-based team approach that specializes in working with individuals in the early stages of addiction recovery who have had difficulty engaging in treatment.

These individuals often end up seeking treatment in local emergency departments because treatment options are limited or they don’t know where to go for help with addiction recovery.

ERT’s goal is to reduce the number of individuals going to emergency departments for substance abuse treatment through community- based, stage-wise treatment.

Because ERT is a grant-funded service, the program is able to serve individuals regardless of insurance benefits, which provides service to those who are grossly underserved in the current mental health system.

ERT uses evidence-based practices including enhancing motivation, relapse prevention planning, developing safe coping skills and changing destructive thought patterns.

Through ERT, Meridian anticipates that an individual engaged in this service will see reduced emergency department admissions; decreased frequency of law enforcement encounters; increased motivation to engage in services; increased support in their recovery journey; and an enhanced quality of life.

“We feel lucky and blessed that ERT will be staffed by primarily veteran Meridian employees who are already well versed in Meridian’s recovery culture and whose experience in the field will bring a richness and depth to a brand new service,” said Kristy Whitaker-Smith, Meridian ACTT & ERT services manager.

This service is available in Jackson and Haywood counties. For additional information, contact Meridian Behavioral Health Services at 631-3973.