January 2019 Community Update

In this issue:
Priorities for 2019 - Letter from CEO Jim Myers
Finding stability with FCMHS
An Alaska Youth Advocates youth reaches out to offer thanks
AYA Silent Auction Fundraiser - February 8!
ACMHS Child & Family team eliminates waitlist
Support ACMHS
Looking forward to year of growth
by Jim Myers, CEO
January, 2019

It has been just over a year since I first arrived at ACMHS/FCMHS, and here we are at the start of another calendar year. It seems a fitting time to reflect on the work we’ve done and what we hope to do next.

In this next year, we’ll embark on a strategic planning process, to develop a more complete picture of how we’d like to grow, what new services we will offer, and how best to meet community needs. But we already know that community need is out there, and that we want to grow to meet it, and we’re getting to work on that right away.

Last year we focused on staff retention and staff morale. Changing the culture of an organization takes time.  The first step was to revamp our salary and compensation schedule to be competitive with other local providers. We have planned for annual increases to ensure pay keeps up with cost of living. With an individualized employee incentive pay program, each employee has personal goals to work toward and understands how those goals fit in with the goals of the organization as a whole. 

Another priority was opening up access to our services. We know there are more Alaskans in need of mental health services, and we heard a lot of frustration from community members about the length of time it took to get scheduled. So we looked at ways to streamline our intake processes, removing barriers wherever possible. Over the last six months of 2018 we saw twice as many new clients as in the same six months of 2017!

In this next year, our challenge is to grow to meet our communities’ needs. To do that, we need to retain and recruit staff. We offer generous benefits, excellent mentoring and supervision (including supervision for licensing), and now competitive salaries. So, if you know any great clinicians, please send them our way!
Finding stability with FCMHS

Chad came in for services at Fairbanks Community Mental Health Services last summer. At the time, he was on the verge of complete homelessness – living in an old motel that had been shut down and abandoned because it was caving in, more or less.
He’d been on the decline for about five years, ever since the former Fairbanks behavioral health center went bankrupt: he got disconnected from services and discontinued his medication. He rarely went outside: getting to FCMHS on his own to get services was too hard. Eventually another client and friend helped him come in for an intake appointment.
An Alaska Youth Advocates Success story: Meet Sauniga Gogo.

He's a big guy, and he hugs often: you feel his warmth the minute you meet him. His staff call him "Gogo" and respond with smiles to his shouts of greeting down the hallways. A year and a half ago, Sauniga Gogo was homeless ...

Read more
To support the work that helped Gogo move out of homelessness and on to the path to success, please join us at AYA's Silent Auction fundraiser on February 8 at Williwaw Social.

Click the graphic to get tickets, or make a cash donation here
Child & Family Team Eliminates Waitlist, Accepting new Clients
We are thrilled to say that we are accepting new clients ages 2-24. ( The community must be excited, because our January 15 facebook post about this had the most reach of any post in our history!)

Child & Family clinical staff from both Fairbanks and Anchorage recently attended two days of ARC framework training. ARC stands for Attachment, Regulation, and Competency, and is an evidence-based practice used extensively in our clinical practice. Taking this time to make sure our staff are highly-qualified is well worth the time it takes, and ensures that we'll be able to provide excellent services to all those families no longer on the waitlist.

To meet the need in both Anchorage and Fairbanks, we will be hiring more clinicians. Check our job listings here , but also know that we are always looking for good clinicians, regardless of what you may see posted! Find out why some of our staff love working here on our You Tube channel. To learn more about child & family services at ACMHS, check our website . If you're a Facebook user, be sure to like us on Facebook @AnchCMHS and @FCMHS to stay up to date.
Why does ACMHS need community support?
Some services provided at ACMHS are covered by Medicaid and other insurance, but as you can see from this pie chart, we also rely on state and federal grant money. We're working to increase our practice revenue (a small Medicaid rate increase taking effect January 1 will help) as we expect state grant dollars to hold steady or possibly decline. Community support helps keep ACMHS/FCMHS strong through these changing political climates. But it does something else: the blue and green portions of our funding are highly restricted and can be used only for properly-documented eligible expenses (as it should be!).
Unrestricted donations give us the ability to work flexibly to meet the needs of our clients and communities. These funds are especially important for programs like Alaska Seeds of Change and Alaska Youth Advocates, which spend a lot of time engaging transition age youth. before any billable services take place.
Please consider a contribution to ACMHS through Pick.Click.Give when you file or your PFD!