Substance abuse group announces hiring of navigators, hears plans for suicide prevention conference
The Ozark County Substance Abuse Task Force has selected Cheryl Thurman and Josh Browning as community navigators to serve as liaisons between community organizations and individuals who are in treatment and / or recovery for addiction. The navigators’ goal is to assist these clients in overcoming barriers, according to an OCSATF announcement.
The community navigator jobs are funded through a three-year Behavioral Health Systems Change Grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health.
Browning will work in Douglas and Ozark counties, and Thurman will work in Wright and Texas counties.
Browning has worked as a bail bondsman and also as an employee in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. In the announcement, he said that, as a bail bondsman, he “learned about the effects that addiction has on people, families and the community,” and he was “astonished that the needs of those with substance-use disorders were not being met.”
While working for DCSO, he said, he “began to think I could make a difference.” He helped co-found Set-Free Ministries in Ava and now hopes to “assist individuals in navigating through the barriers they face to get to the resources they need to better themselves and move forward in life.”
Thurman, a registered nurse, is the Celebrate Recovery ministry leader at Faith Fellowship and is active in weekly Post Encounter services. “Both of these programs have been connections for me to assist people in recovery from substance use disorders,” she said.
The selections were announced at the June 16 Substance Abuse Task Force meeting at the Lions Club meeting in Gainesville. Eleven members and four special guests attended, including Travis Smith, candidate for 155th District Missouri House representative.
Missouri Suicide Prevention Conference
During the meeting, the task force heard a report from the Community Partnership of the Ozarks about the upcoming Missouri Suicide Prevention Conference, which will be held “virtually,” meaning online only. The conference begins Thursday, July 30, with all-day keynote presentations continuing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Then presentations will be broadcast online from 1 to 3 p.m. every other Thursday (Aug. 6 and 20; Sept. 3 and 17; and Oct. 1, 15 and 29). The sessions are presented live and are not recorded.
The suicide-prevention presentations include “Implementing peer support programs for second victims,” “Assessing and managing suicide risks during COVID-19 and beyond,” “Thwarting suicide: Advanced ... strategies.”
The conference is free to anyone who registers; if healthcare professionals want to use the conference for continuing education credits, a $20 fee is charged. It is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare and Community Counseling Center. To register, visit email@example.com. For more information about the conference, email events @mocoalition.org.
The task force’s July meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night. The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, in the Lions Club building in Gainesville. All are welcome. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.