The timing was just right.
Those at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) Juneau had been looking to partner with another agency to expand and diversify its services. Those at the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc. (JAMHI) were looking to fill gaps in what they offered to the community.
When NCADD’s executive director left for another job in May 2017, Linda Landvik took over as interim executive director. Landvik said conversations started around then with JAMHI about how the two entities could combine services to serve more of Juneau.
“All the circumstances came together so that it worked out that this was the right time to make the move, so we just decided to go with it,” Landvik said. “Everything aligned and everything was in the right place. It was a good time for us to do that, to rethink how we wanted to continue as an organization.”
Just months later, a partnership was formed. The two officially merged in January, going by the name JAMHI Health and Wellness, Inc. Dave Branding, the organization’s CEO, said JAMHI had already taken steps to serve more people but this merger takes it to a different level.
For about 30 years, Branding said, JAMHI has provided services for those struggling with mental health. Among other services, it offers emergency mental health services, clinical assessments, therapy sessions, group classes and housing through community partnerships. NCADD has been in Juneau since 1965, offering similar services but with a focus on substance abuse treatment.
Now, those in need of mental health care and substance abuse treatment can go to the same organization. It makes referrals and treatment easier, Chief Integrated Services Officer Doug Harris said.
“I really saw chemical dependency specific services as one of the areas that JAMHI could beef up,” Harris said. “We’ve integrated primary care, so we’ve got that taken care of, so with the merger underway we have since brought on staff specific for chemical dependency services.”
This is not the first partnership JAMHI has made in recent years. The organization partnered with the Housing First Collaborative to build a clinic in the Housing First facility in the Lemon Creek area. Initially, that clinic was only serving the residents at Housing First — which houses 32 people who were either living on the street or in dire need of a safe place to live.
Since the beginning of January, that clinic has also been open to the public. It provides service on a sliding pay scale, Harris said, meaning that payment is catered to each client depending on whether they have insurance or how much they can afford to pay. Through this, Harris hopes the clinic can serve a wide range of clients.
The clinic currently features three exam rooms and will soon have a medication coordinator to help people obtain the medication they need. It will also soon offer dental care. The clinic, located at 1944 Allen Ct., is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Another population the merger might benefit is recently released inmates. NCADD offers re-entry and recovery support coaching and programming. JAMHI offers case management services, help with housing and medication assistance. Together, Landvik said, the two organizations can make the difficult process of leaving prison a little easier.
“To have such a bigger variety of services just is incredible,” Landvik said. “We don’t have to search around to try and find those things. They’re under one roof. It works so much better.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.