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Encouraging Addiction Recovery Through Connection and Peer Support

Mental Health Crisis Care Center Partner Spotlight: Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness

Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA) is an independent, non-profit organization that has been serving individuals and families affected by substance use disorders since its founding in 2006. USARA is Utah's statewide recovery community organization whose mission is to connect and inspire communities to advocate for addiction recovery.

USARA Group Photo

The organization envisions a Utah where a recovery community and connections are recognized as the most valuable assets for people to recover from addiction. To achieve this mission, USARA offers a wide range of services to support individuals in their journey toward recovery, including peer recovery support services, which are provided by recovery coaches who have their own lived experience of addiction and recovery. USARA will be partnering with the Kem & Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center to create an environment of ease and comfort for those struggling with addiction issues who would like to speak with somebody with a similar life experience.

"Often people in recovery want to talk with somebody they feel like can relate to their current situation. We can be there for them."
Mary Jo McMillen Executive Director of USARA

Mary Jo McMillen, a licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor and Executive Director of USARA, believes that the partnership will be a valuable and important one. "Clinical support is incredibly important, but often people in recovery want to talk with somebody they feel like can relate to their current situation," she said. "We can be there for someone who may be struggling to help them find resources like the Crisis Care Center and to connect them with community-based recovery support needed to maintain their health and wellness."

USARA also spearheads Utah's advocacy efforts to educate and provide information about substance use disorders and recovery for policy makers and the community, striving to make sure that the Legislature makes informed decisions about Utahns who need access to healthcare and funding for prevention, treatment and recovery support services. With upcoming events such as the Rally for Recovery on February 16, 2023, at the Utah State Capitol, USARA intends to keep building the momentum.

About the Kem & Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center

When the doors of the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center open in 2025, it will be a welcoming place for all adults. The Center will help individuals de-escalate, stabilize, and connect to community resources catered to their individual mental health needs. The Center will help people facing a psychiatric crisis get on the path to mental wellness by unifying critical crisis services and many community resources in one easy-to-access location. The building design and operations will ensure patients and their families feel welcome, respected, and secure throughout every step of their care.

Researchers will work alongside clinicians, patients and their families to develop evidence-based best practices for treatment and care and develop new approaches for helping people. It will also be a site for training future generations of crisis care professionals including social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and many more. Learn more.