White Bird is launching an initiative to vaccinate health care professionals and expedite Lane County Public Health’s COVID-19 1A vaccination effort.
Health care professionals interested in getting vaccinated should visit http://bit.ly/wbc-vaccine or call 541-844-7736 to learn more and sign up for vaccination.
Staff at the agency’s main offices and medical clinic do not have information on the vaccination project, and White Bird asks folks to kindly not interrupt their ongoing work caring for our community’s low income and unhoused individuals. White Bird has received an outpouring of volunteer offers from local clinicians interested in helping protect their fellow health care professionals.
This position is responsible for assisting in the day-to-day operation of the medical clinic including answering phones, scheduling appointments, contacting patients for needed care, and working with other Program staff to improve the quality of care provided at our clinic.
Pay and Benefits:
This position is being hired for up to 40 hours per week, and the salary is up to $18 an hour based on training and probation completion.
General Office: Checking patients in and out, processing payments, answering multi-line phones, basic computer and Internet use, making appointments, verifying insurance eligibility, taking prescription refills for patients or pharmacies, calling labs pick up, and other general reception duties as needed.
Records Management: making sure we have front office supplies, sorting mail, faxing documents. Navigation and documentation in EHR systems.
Attend weekly staff meetings as well as additional meetings as scheduled.
Office Support: Assist staff as needed
One year reception or office experience
Strong Communication Skills
Ability to work with a diverse population and a broad range of situations while maintaining a professional and courteous attitude
Strong Computer Skills: Like word / Excel / Internet (Firefox)
Basic Math and English
Ability to work independently and to a deadline
Ability to multitask: answer multi line phone system, answer questions in person, and take messages simultaneously.
Willing to go the extra mile (or longer)
Complete new employee orientation (NVT)
A SENSE OF HUMOR!!
Bilingual in English and Spanish
Experience in working in a consensus environment
This position reports to the Front Office Receptionist Anchor.
NOTE: All positions at White Bird Clinic have a minimum 3-month probationary period.
Includes employee benefits at 30+ hours (e.g., medical, dental, vision, health reimbursement funds and athletic membership reimbursement)
White Bird is an approved National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site in which eligible applicants may receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment for an initial service commitment for 2 years.
Serve as the primary counselor for clients experiencing mental health concerns, substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. Conduct individual therapy, group therapy and case management; possibly including couples and family counseling. Be able to provide mental health evaluations/assessments and substance use disorder evaluations/assessments or be willing to learn how to evaluate substance use disorders. Be willing to monitor urinalyses and if necessary, do paperwork associated with the collected samples. Assist in general office duties if needed. Actively participate in collaborative group meetings that shape policy for both the White Bird collective and the Chrysalis department.
Masters degree in counseling, psychology, or other behavioral science field with the ability to be qualified as a QMHP (Qualified Mental Health Professional).
Competence in mental health care, including assessment, and individual and group counseling. Have a minimum of two years of experience conducting psychotherapy.
Competence in drug abuse treatment, including assessment, and individual and group counseling. Have a minimum of two years of experience in substance use disorder treatment.
CADC (or the ability and willingness to obtain the same within 12 months of beginning employment).
Individuals who are recovering from drug abuse, drug dependence, or alcoholism must have continuous sobriety for the past two years.
Perform admission interviews, including necessary histories and referrals for clients experiencing mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders.
Determine eligibility, evaluate clients, perform case management and develop treatment plans for clients experiencing mental health and substance use disorders.
Document client interactions appropriately and efficiently.
Serve as the primary counselor to a number of clients based on FTE.
Provide individual and group counseling.
Participate in staff meetings and required clinic meetings and activities. Complete required training and work White Bird desk shifts, per staff requirements.
Conduct urine surveillance activities, and if necessary, do the paperwork associated with the collected samples.
Assist in general office duties to back up the office staff as needed, answering phones, etc.
Participate in education and training for the staff and the public.
Complete White Bird’s New Volunteer Training (NVT) or a modified version of NVT if appropriate.
A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!
Ability to independently manage the schedule and work effectively with minimal supervision.
Ability to work later afternoons, some evenings, and Saturdays.
Use a humanistic approach when working with clients.
Experience and desire to work in a collaborative consensus environment.
This job has a six-month probation period and you must be able to pass a background check prior to employment.
This job and its training will be a mixture of in-office and online until we move fully back to in-person business.
The Accounts Receivable Specialist will work within the Fiscal Department and be responsible for
two key areas: Accounts receivable and Liaison between the Fiscal department and the billing department(s).
The position will include 20 hours per week of charge and payment entry, analyzing aging reports.
Pay and Benefits:
This position is being hired for 0.5 FTE, up to 20 hours a week at $18/hr
Posts receipts to NextGen PM (A/R data, insurance payments, etc.)
Provide reporting on program encounter/billing data from NextGen PM for Fiscal Department
As a member of the fiscal/accounting team to track revenue flows accurately within the
accounting system (SAGE) from the billing system (NextGen)
Liaison between program billing staff and fiscal team on revenue cycle management at Fiscal/Program requests
Account write-off management with approval Program Coordinator or designate, write off bad-debt from NextGen PM,
generate and review aging reports
Ensure that revenue accounting and reporting activities are coordinated with the monthly close process and schedule,
including a review and reconciliation of recognized revenue against actual and budgeted billings and budgeted revenue.
Work with and communicate efficiently with a diverse staff population and situations while maintaining a professional and courteous attitude.
Complete confidentially agreement
Complete new employee orientation
College level coursework in accounting
Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite including Excel
Experience with general accepted accounting practices
Ability to work independently
Ability to work to a deadline
Strong Communication Skills
Sense of Humor
Medical Office Experience
Knowledge of Medical Office/Nextgen EHR and Practice Management software
Knowledge of SAGE accounting platforms or similar systems
This position reports to the Fiscal Program Coordinator
NOTE: All positions at White Bird Clinic have a minimum 6-month probationary period.
CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a mobile crisis-intervention program that was created in 1989 as a collaboration between White Bird Clinic and the City of Eugene, Oregon. Its mission is to improve the city’s response to mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness.
CAHOOTS is operated by White Bird Clinic, which was formed in 1969 by members of the 1960s countercultural movement. They were interested in alternative and experimental approaches to addressing societal problems. Today, White Bird Clinic operates more than a dozen programs, primarily serving low-in-come and indigent clientele.
The CAHOOTS model was developed through discussions with the city government, police department, fire department, emergency medical services (EMS), mental health department, and others. The name CAHOOTS is based on the irony of White Bird Clinic’s alternative, countercultural staff collaborating with law enforcement and mainstream agencies for the common good.
Photo by William “Bill” Holderfield
When it began, CAHOOTS had very limited availability in Eugene. It has grown into a 24-hour service in 2 cities, Eugene and Springfield, with multiple vans running during peak hours in Eugene. The program—which now responds to more than 65 calls per day—has more than quadrupled in size during the past decade due to societal needs and the increasing popularity of the program.
Programs based on the CAHOOTS model are being launched in numerous cities, including Denver, Oakland, Olympia, Portland, and others. Federal legislation could mandate states to create CAHOOTS-style programs in the near future.
When CAHOOTS was formed, the Eugene police and fire departments were a single entity called the Department of Public Safety. CAHOOTS was designed to be a hybrid service capable of handling noncriminal, nonemergency police and medical calls, as well as other requests for service that are not clearly criminal or medical.
Eugene’s police and fire departments eventually split. CAHOOTS was absorbed into the police department’s budget and dispatch system. It continues to respond to requests typically handled by police and EMS with its integrated health care model.
CAHOOTS operates with teams of 2: a crisis intervention worker who is skilled in counseling and deescalation techniques, and a medic who is either an EMT or a nurse. This pairing allows CAHOOTS teams to respond to a broad range of situations. For example, if an individual is feeling suicidal and they cut themselves, is the situation medical or psychiatric? Obviously, it is both, and CAHOOTS teams are equipped to address both issues. Typically, such a call involving an individual who engaged in self-harm would result in a response from police and EMS. This over-response is rarely necessary. It can also be costly and intimidating for the patient. They are not criminals, and their wounds are often not serious enough to require more than basic first aid in the field. These patients are usually seeking help, and a CAHOOTS team is trained to address both the emotional and physical needs of the patient while alleviating the need for police and EMS involvement. If necessary, CAHOOTS can transport patients to facilities such as the emergency department, crisis center, detox center, or shelter free of charge.
CAHOOTS is contacted by police dispatchers. If you call the nonemergency police line or 911 in the cities of Eugene or Springfield, you can request CAHOOTS for a broad range of problems, including mental health crises, intoxication, minor medical needs, and more. Dispatchers also route certain police and EMS calls to CAHOOTS if they determine that is appropriate.
CAHOOTS, to a large extent, operates as a free, confidential, alternative or auxiliary to police and EMS. Those services are overburdened with psych-social calls that they are often ill-equipped to handle. CAHOOTS staff rely on their persuasion and deescalation skills to manage situations, not force. Only in rare cases do CAHOOTS staff request police or EMS to transport patients against their will.
Photo by William “Bill” Holderfield
A Backup Plan
If a psychiatrist or other mental health provider in the Eugene/Springfield area is concerned about a patient, they can call CAHOOTS for assistance. This usually results in a welfare check.
Let us say, hypothetically, that you are concerned about a patient with bipolar disorder. After a lengthy period of stability, they have been complaining to you that they feel like their prescribed medication is no longer working effectively. You begin receiving phone messages and emails from them consisting of fanatical rantings and incoherent gibberish.
You are concerned, but it is not so severe that you feel compelled to call the police. Perhaps you are reluctant to call law enforcement for a variety of reasons. What do you do? You call CAHOOTS.
Having responded to a similar scenario recently, let me describe what occurred. The patient, although not expecting us, welcomed our response. They explained to us that they felt like their medication was ineffective, and, after days of mania, they were feeling depressed and suicidal.
The patient recognized their own decompensation, and eagerly accepted transport to the hospital. Their mental health care provider was informed that we were transporting them and called the hospital to provide additional information.
We transported the patient to the hospital, and they were admitted to the inpatient psychiatric unit for stabilization. Collaboration between prehospital, hospital, and outpatient services facilitated that incident as smoothly as possible.
Barriers and How to Help
Prehospital mental health crisis response is underdeveloped. Most often, police and EMS are the only options. In some cities, clinicians with masters or doctoral degrees are sent with first responders. Unfortunately, the supply of these clinicians is not enough to meet the demand, but does it need to? Ambulances do not staff medical doctors. Why should prehospital mental health care require masters/doctoral level licensed clinicians? Telepsychiatry services, while important, are no substitute for direct human contact, especially given that some patients will need to be transported to a higher level of care and many do not have the means or ability to participate in telehealth services (because of lack of capacity or lack of resources).
The biggest barrier to CAHOOTS-style mobile crisis expansion is the belief that without licensed clinicians and police, prehospital mental health assistance is ineffective and unsafe. If psychiatrists want a program like this in their area, they can help by using their considerable authority to assure the community that response teams like CAHOOTS can work. Because of their direct lines of communication to the police and familiarity with police procedures, CAHOOTS staff are able to respond to high acuity mental health crisis scenarios in the field beyond what is typically allowed for mental health service providers, which often facilitates positive outcomes and can even prevent deadly outcomes. Their support is vital for program success.
Mr. Climer worked for CAHOOTS as a crisis worker for 5 years and an EMT for 2.5 of those years. He now lives in Pasadena, CA where he helps Southern California cities develop CAHOOTS-style programs. Mr. Gicker is a registered nurse and emergency medical technician who has worked for CAHOOTS since 2008.
This 20 hour/week position is part of the team responsible for the administration of White Bird Clinic outreach and consulting projects and services. $15.00/hour starting wage, up to $18.00/hour upon completion of probation. White Bird employees are eligible for health benefits at 30 hours/week at the clinic in any combination of paid positions.
Two years of clerical experience, in a human service field preferred.
Proficient in word processing, Microsoft Office Suite, .pdf editing and database management programs.
Flexible Schedule, hours generally within M-F 9-5.
A typing speed of 50+ WPM.
Able to work independently and multi-task with accuracy.
A SENSE OF HUMOR
Support administrative functions of the Director of Consulting and related projects – documentation of meetings, processing paperwork, distribution of outreach and supplemental materials.
Executive Support for Director of Consulting – assorted help with contract negotiations, grant compliance, project research, invoicing, consulting inquiries database maintenance, data analysis and any other activities to support executive functions.
Maintenance and coordination of outreach materials related to consulting.
“CAHOOTS in the News” website page.
Intellectual Property protection.
Information Request Portal
And other tasks as requested by the Director of Consulting and Consulting project team members.
This position supports the Chief Medical Officer, Clinic Administration and Program Coordinators in maintaining the Clinic’s Quality Assurance / Quality Improvement program.
Pay and Benefits:
This position is being hired for up to 40 hours per week beginning at $15 with an increase to $18/hour upon completion of probation and year of service. This position includes Medical, Dental, and Vision benefits.
Manage Agency QA/QI Calendar and support Program staff in managing scheduled tasks.
Assist Program staff in documenting QA/QI efforts (PDSA’s) for the improvement of patient services (50% or more of this positions responsibilities)
Organize, support, and document regular Peer Review audits in all HRSA Programs.
Organize, support, and document regular Chart Reviews in all HRSA Programs.
Organize and support ongoing Client Satisfaction Survey Process:
maintain and update client satisfaction surveys to meet requirements outlined by various funders at the County, State, and Federal level
work with White Bird Programs to administer client surveys as required by Clinic policies
compile client data and analyze survey data. Disseminate survey results to across the agency
Organize and support Client Focus Groups:
periodic organization of client focus groups to solicit client feedback
schedule and facilitate client focus groups designed to address specific client needs
compile and analyze client feedback. Disseminate report to Admin and Program staff
Participate as a member of audit preparation teams (such as HRSA Site Review committees) as needed.
Provide clerical support to the Agency’s Quality Management Team (meeting minutes, documentation, etc.)
At least one year of relevant project management and QI experience preferred
Interest in and knowledge of community health, behavioral health, and primary care
Knowledge of principles and standards related to QI and Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) Cycles
Electronic health record (EHR) experience (NextGen EHR Preferred)
Strong communication and presentation skills, training/meeting facilitation skills a plus
Solid relationship building and interpersonal skills
Excellent writing, research, analytical and time management skills. Ability to work to a deadline.
Excellent coordination skills, including multitasking and setting priorities on work assignments.
Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
High degree of independence, flexibility, initiative, and commitment
Ability to work effectively with diverse populations, both internally and externally
Demonstrated awareness and value of cultural competence
Commitment to improving the patient experience.
Ability to work remotely
Complete White Bird New Employee Orientation/Training
A Sense of Humor!
Bachelor’s degree and/or a combination of equivalent education or experience in health sciences, business, or related field
Experience in outpatient settings or clinical settings
Experience in or with an FQHC preferred
Experience working in a consensus environment
Bilingual in English/Spanish
Accountability: This position reports to the Chief Medical Officer.
NOTE: This position has a six-month probationary period.
White Bird counselor Amy May talked with KXCR Community Radio Station‘s Larry Bloomfield in Florence, OR about her work as an End-of-Life Counselor and Death Doula. White Bird End of Life Counseling is a compassionate, client-centered service that provides support for psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual issues related to death and dying.
Our goal is to help ease people through the process of dying, especially those who could not otherwise receive support or services. When a person is terminally ill and has few resources, they may wait until their health deteriorates to the point of hospitalization before seeking services. This means not getting the necessary care until it’s unavoidable. Once the person is ill enough to visit the emergency department, they may be hospitalized or transferred to a nursing home. Our End of Life Counseling program seeks to serve clients who may otherwise be at risk of these stressful outcomes.
At White Bird, our SOAR-trained Public Benefits Advocate provides assistance to eligible individuals in completing thorough, quality SSDI/SSI applications. The focus is on individuals who are homeless and at risk of homelessness who experience mental health and/or physical health conditions. These services are offered free of charge.
A screening process helps to determine potential eligibility based on many various factors like work history, income, marital status, and resources. The application itself can take a couple of hours to fill out, and it’s important to have all the information ready prior to applying. Potential clients should anticipate meeting with the Benefits Advocate 3-5 times before actually completing the application.
The Benefits Advocate can assist clients in obtaining information, but it will make things go faster if the client has the following information:
List of medical sources that have treated the client, with strong focus on the last two years’ records
Sources can include: primary care doctors, hospitals and ERs, behavioral health hospitals, mental health counselors, psychiatrists, corrections facilities, education records, vocational rehab or job training programs, social services agencies
A list of tests or procedures ordered (x-rays, MRIs, mental health assessments, etc.)
Requests medical records with the claimant’s permission.
Assists the claimant in navigating the disability application process, including help filling out reports and responding to requests from SSA/DDS.
Makes referrals for other White Bird programs/services, as well as other community resources
Helps claimants file a reconsideration for a denied claim (for clients who have already filed an initial claim with the benefits advocate)
Make referrals to disability attorneys when appropriate (reconsiderations and Administrative Law Judge hearings).
What the Benefits Advocate Can’t Do:
Cannot do it without the client! It is vital that the client stays involved in the process and maintains communication with the Benefits Advocate. MANY disability claims get denied simply because the claimant does not maintain contact or respond to requests from SSA/DDS
Cannot guarantee approval on a claim. We screen clients for various eligibility factors and work with people who have a strong chance of being approved, but it is SSA/DDS that makes a determination of disability status.
Cannot “expedite” or otherwise speed up the process. We can help the claimant put together a complete application and proactively fill out reports in advance of them being requested, but the agencies that make the decisions are often dealing with a backlog of applications and sometimes things move slowly.
Cannot see into SSA’s or DDS’s systems or files. The benefits advocate does not work for SSA or other governmental agencies; the benefits advocate can communicate SSA/DDS and confirm that these agencies have what they need, but does not have direct access to the records.
The fires and economic hardship have displaced over 100,000 Oregonians at a time when we face the most severe affordable housing shortage in the state’s history. It will cost billions of dollars and take a decade to build enough homes to bridge the gap.
At the same time, there are more than a million spare bedrooms in Oregon’s owner-occupied homes…enough to accommodate every Oregonian in need of attainable housing choices.
Affordable housing can be accomplished by moving people into compatible, compassionate, affordable, shared housing arrangements. Home Share Oregon, a program from the nonprofit organization Oregon Harbor of Hope, helps match homeowners who have space to share with renters who need an affordable place to live. Their mission is to prevent foreclosure and homelessness through home-sharing.
Home Share Oregon offers all services free to members who are victims of the Oregon fires. 33 Lane County homeowners have already signed up as hosts!
They use Silvernest, an online home-sharing platform, to enable compatibility-based homeowner/renter matching at scale and protect the relationship with a lease, insurance, and more. All Home Share Oregon homeowners will also receive a FREE COVID kit while supplies last.
HIV Alliance has five locations and runs needle exchange sites 6 times a week in Lane County, including a new site at White Bird Medical on Wednesdays. The Needle Exchange program aims to protect public safety and community health by reducing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C due to people sharing syringes. The program works to keep sterile syringes accessible so that those who inject drugs or hormones do not feel a need to share their syringes and risk becoming infected with HIV, HCV, or another blood-borne disease.
Eugene Office 1195 City View St., Eugene, OR 97402
Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm
Fridays from 1pm-5pm
499 W. 4th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401
Mondays from 6-7:30pm
White Bird Medical Clinic
1400 Mill St, Eugene, OR 97401
Wednesdays from 6-7:30pm
456 Hwy. 99 (Lindholm Center Parking Lot), Eugene, OR 97402
Thursdays from 9:45am-12pm
South 18th and A, Springfield, OR 97477
Thursdays from 6-7:30pm
HIV Alliance continues to do testing for HCV, HIV and other STIs four days a week at their office: Mondays from 3-7pm
Tuesdays from 5-7pm
Wednesdays NO TESTING
Thursdays from 5pm-8pm
Fridays from 1pm-5pm
Testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis: Call for times: 541-342-5088
The Naloxone Finder is intended for people who use drugs to access naloxone in their community.
While many of the programs listed offer additional harm reduction supplies (e.g. syringes, safer smoking kits, drop-in centers), the Harm Reduction Coalition has vetted the programs for community-based naloxone that is free and intended for people who use drugs. They will update this map on a bi-monthly basis and have included space for programs to update their information regarding specific requirements or changes due to COVID-19.
In the annual Eugene Weekly Best of 2020, CAHOOTS won best non-profit and best service for the homeless. Ebony Morgan, program coordinator and RN won best healthcare worker. Thank you Eugene, we are humbled as ever. Let’s keep our hearts open and these vans rolling.
A few weeks ago, Jose Soto-Gates, White Bird Clinic’s Fundraiser, was contacted by a group of students involved with Greek life on the UO campus wanted to raise money for White Bird in memory of their dear friend, Anthony Laveroni. Together, they created a fundraising page to support mental health services and invite contributions from the wider community.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity will be hosting a Suicide Prevention Week, where they will be distributing the White Bird Help Book to all the fraternity’s and Sorority’s on campus to promote the 24 hour WB Crisis line services as well to highlight the help book as a community resource.
White Bird Medical Clinic has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to develop a safe, COVID-19 screening and testing center for Lane County’s unhoused populations. The screening center will be located in White Bird’s primary care walk-in clinic, with construction planned to start February 2021. The new primary care walk-in clinic will offer on-demand acute care to our community’s most vulnerable residents. Without access to walk-in primary care, patients utilize emergency room treatment for acute but not emergent problems, reducing the availability of treatment for life-threatening emergencies.
In addition, treatment at an emergency room is at least five times more costly than a primary care encounter. With ambulance transport, emergency treatment becomes an order of magnitude more expensive than primary care. These dramatically increased costs, along with reduced availability of treatment for life-threatening emergencies, constitute a crisis for our community and the institutions that provide and fund health care. With your help we will continue preventing unnecessary emergency room treatment and subsequent hospital admissions and preserve healthcare system capacity essential for accommodating an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
As winter approaches, Kaiser Permanente’s $100,000 award will help White Bird construct a separate entrance to their Eugene clinic on Mill Street and add negative-pressure exam rooms for safe COVID-19 symptom monitoring. https://t.co/SLjcTDHR4l
When complete, the new facility will allow White Bird to quickly identify and respond to emerging health care needs, preventing the infection and spread of COVID-19 in people experiencing homelessness through symptom monitoring, screening, and testing. It will also enhance White Bird’s work coordinating care for the local population of unhoused individuals, strengthen partnerships with referring agencies and organizations, and support coordinating community efforts to suppress COVID-19. An additional benefit will be the capacity to conduct point of care testing for dental clinic patients, in order to keep dental staff safe and improve access to oral health care.
“Protecting One Another: When to Engage Public Safety” is an hour and a half interactive and skill-based workshop. It gives context for the current conversation about policing, goes over community caregiver basics, how to access scene safety, and how to determine whether to call for emergency services, non-emergency services/ CAHOOTS, or de-escalate and address the situation directly. There’s an overview of how CAHOOTS is dispatched, a teaser for the de-escalation training, and small group time with scenario assessment. It ends with a discussion of community responses and initiatives to address Eugene’s housing and homelessness crisis.
Community members, business owners, neighborhood associations, and other community organizations are encouraged to attend.
Parts of the session can be recorded, but not the interactive sections.
Fill out the training/ speaker request form and mark the “When to Engage Public Safety” workshop. Mark whether you want to host a training or just attend one. Individuals will be notified of upcoming offerings.
The group cost is $125.00 for organizations, businesses, churches, and neighborhood associations, and no one is turned away for lack of funds.
‘Healing House” is an excerpt from “FRONTLINE,” a 40,000-word original work of creative nonfiction on White Bird Clinic’s crisis intervention team, published in 1994 by Mark H. Massé, who received his master’s degree with honors from the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) at the University of Oregon in 1994. After serving on the SOJC faculty, he spent 22 years in the Department of Journalism at Ball State University, retiring in 2018 as professor emeritus.
Copyright (1994) by Mark H. Massé. All rights reserved.
Twenty-some years ago, White Bird Clinic was known as a glorified crash pad for teenagers who were hallucinating on psychedelic drugs. The clinic, which was founded as a counterculture collective in 1970, was viewed with suspicion and concern by the Eugene establishment. People criticized its perceived. “overly permissive attitude” toward drug use. Some said White Bird was harboring criminals and runaways.
The police were angry about the clinic’s confidentiality agreements with clients whom the cops saw as drug-dealing lowlifes. A typical front-desk encounter at White Bird would go something like this:
“You can’t or won’t tell me if this guy hangs out here?” the police officer asks the long-haired receptionist. “Both,” the White Birder replies, smugly.
Today, White Bird Clinic’s confrontational image has mellowed, but it has retained its collective/communal organizational structure and its identity as a grass-roots human services and community advocacy organization. White Bird’s mission: to serve the people nobody else wants to deal with, the folks who fall between the cracks. Each year, the clinic responds to the medical, mental health, and social service needs of thousands of low-income, alienated, abandoned, and disenfranchised clients in Lane County.
Through the decades, the once-controversial clinic has transformed itself, becoming more establishment oriented than anyone could have imagined back in the 1970s. White Bird Clinic now has a million-dollar annual operating budget and is involved in cooperative programs with Sacred Heart Hospital, Lane, County Mental Health Services, and the Eugene Police Department, plus many other public- and private-sector organizations. The clinic’s comprehensive operations include medical and dental services, 24-hour crisis intervention, mental health screening and evaluation programs, AIDS testing, drug treatment services, and extensive information and referral services.
One innovative cooperative venture is C.A.H.O.O.T.S. (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets), a result of a 1989 partnership between White Bird Clinic and Eugene’s public safety system. Funded by the city of Eugene, the C.A.H.O.O.T.S. program uses a van that is radio-dispatched through the 911 system. A two-person team—a White Bird crisis worker and a trained medic—responds to calls dealing with drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, emotional crises, and family disputes that pose a small risk of violence.
Over the years, White Bird Clinic’s clientele has also changed, becoming more representative of the mainstream community. The clinic’s crisis intervention team frequently handles calls from area residents of all ages who have questions about personal or family relationships, as well as more serious concerns such as suicide prevention, domestic abuse, or chemical dependency issues. Case in point: Recently, an 11-year-old girl from a middle-class suburb, called the clinic because her parents were going through a divorce, but they weren’t including their daughter in any discussions. The girl was referred to White Bird by a telephone operator. She later talked with a White Bird counselor about what was happening to her and her family.
“Maybe we’re more reputable today than we think we are,” says Bob Dritz, White Bird Clinic’s coordinator, as he reflects on the clinic’s rocky-road history over the last 25 years. It is as if White Bird Clinic has a Protean identity—it continues to evolve and reinvent itself in response to changes in the outside world. Dritz relishes his role as resident historian of White Bird Clinic.
With his mop of black hair, tinted aviator-style glasses, and wide-brimmed straw hat, his rag-tag wardrobe, and laid-back crash-pad drawl, Dritz looks and sounds more like a zoned-out, middle-aged hipster than a keen-minded financial whiz who helped guide the clinic down the path to respectability. At the start of each season’s new-volunteer orientation session at White Bird, 20 individuals, who have already been screened by a clinic trainer, sit on the floor in the community room and await their introduction to the organization. Clinic coordinator Dritz sits among the newcomers like a wise tribal chief and recites the oft-told tale of White Bird Clinic.
The history of the clinic dates back to the late 1960s when the drug problem officially hit Eugene, Oregon. Disenchanted, angry, and rebellious youths roamed the streets of this bucolic city nestled in the heart of the lush Willamette Valley in western Oregon. These “hippies,” who had rejected authority and conventional lifestyles, were turning on and tuning in to a new consciousness. They were experimenting with hallucinogens, amphetamines, barbiturates, and just about any other drug they could get their hands on. LSD—”acid”—was the drug of choice for this psychedelic generation who were “tripping” to pursue psychic exploration, achieve satori (enlightenment), or get their kicks on mind-bending, reality-twisting roller-coaster rides.
The problem was that the ticket to nirvana often came at a high price. Young drug users were overdosing, taking bad trips (“bummers”) and “freaking out.” Having severed their ties with straight society, many of the drug-taking youth were without food, shelter, or proper medical care.
In the late sixties, the medical establishment in Eugene and everywhere else didn’t know how to deal with the drug problem. The emergency room doctors were, in the words of one historical account, “flying by the seat of their pants” when treating patients on bad acid trips, injecting them with high doses of phenothiazine tranquilizers, usually 50 mg of Thorazine. Thorazine was seen as a means of normalizing and sedating patients with psychotic or schizophrenic behavior, which is how the ER doctors viewed drug overdoses. The problem was that phenothiazines packed some pretty heavy side effects. A disoriented teenager on a bad trip who came into an emergency room could very well leave in worse shape than when he or she arrived—shot full of Thorazine and now suffering from dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasms, or tremors.
Out of the purple haze that had descended on Eugene, stepped two 25-year-old doctoral students in psychology from the University of Oregon. Dennis Ekanger and Frank Lemons looked like characters from the movie “M.A.S.H:” Here’s Ekanger—a Radar O’Reilly, with more hair. There’s Lemons, a Hawkeye Pierce/Donald Sutherland stand-in, with more hair and a beard, of course.
Ekanger knew firsthand about the problems of drug abuse from his days as a resident hall counselor at the University of Oregon and in his work as a juvenile counselor for the county. The rap on the street was that the chain-smoking, deep-voiced Ekanger was an empathetic guy who could help you cool down and sort things out. Ekanger was living in an old Victorian-style house on 20th Avenue and Lincoln in Eugene’s “student ghetto.” His reputation grew to the point where students and drifters, Vietnam vets and runaways would be hanging out on his doorstep every day wanting to rap about their mixed-up lives.
Like Dennis Ekanger, Frank Lemon had a following. For months, he had been counseling young people in crisis. Lemons’ reputation was enhanced by his counterculture connections. He had many friends living in a large commune on a 200-plus acre farm outside of town. The members of the commune would later form the core group of White Bird’s supervisors and full-time volunteers in the clinic’s early years.
In 1969, Ekanger and Lemons enlisted the support of Dr. Leonard Jacobson, a successful and respected surgeon and past president of the county’s medical society. Dr. Jacobson had been outspoken about the need for new approaches to the drug crisis. He provided the legitimacy and the established community contacts that Ekanger and Lemons lacked.
The three men conceived of a psycho-social-medical approach (influenced by such operations as the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco) and advanced the idea of a community free clinic and counseling/drug education center, a sanctuary to deal with people’s drug-related problems. More than 100 community leaders were involved in the crafting of the proposal for a clinic to be known officially as White Bird Sociomedical Aid Station, Inc.
Ekanger and Lemons each put up $250 to incorporate the clinic and organized a board of directors. The two served as the clinic’s co-directors. After securing grants from the city ($4,800) and state ($7,500), plus community donations, White Bird Clinic started operating on February 22, 1970, in a rented house at 837 Lincoln Street. Furniture was donated by local churches. Area hospitals contributed medical equipment and supplies. In the first few weeks, more than 150 doctors and nurses, plus dozens of attorneys, social workers, and educators donated their time and services to get the clinic up and running. After only one month, the clinic was being used as a field site for graduate students in counseling. Soon, more than 100 -university students were clinic volunteers.
In October 1971, the clinic purchased adjacent houses at 323 and 341 E. 12th Avenue for $67,500. The “annex” at 323 E. 12th housed the medical clinic and drug detox and drug education services. The clinic’s main building at 341 E. 12th was headquarters for crisis intervention, counseling, legal services, and an expanding list of client advocacy and referral programs.
The house at 341 E. 12th Avenue had once been the residence of a prominent physician who was one of the founders of the Eugene Clinic. The house was built for $4,000 in 1917 according to the specifications of Dr. Philip Bartle, a specialist in internal medicine who ran his medical practice on the main floor of the 3,500-square-foot, two-story home where he lived with his -wife and two children.
According to The History of the Willamette Valley, Oregon, published in 1927, Philip Bartle was a perfectionist, “a man among men, possessing a strong and forceful personality.” Bartle was committed to working on behalf of the public welfare for the “betterment of the community along all legitimate lines.” In the 1920s, he helped establish the Eugene Hospital and Clinic, at the time one of only two standardized hospitals in Oregon outside of Portland.
Bartle’s home was designed in the popular craftsman style of his day. This elaborate “bungalow-type” of architecture featured large porches with truncated pillars or columns, low-pitched gable-styled roofs with prominent gabled dormers, and multi-paned windows of varying shapes and sizes. The front room had extensive wood detailing—columns, beams, paneling, and window casements. Two maple window seats flanked the first-floor mantel and fireplace.
Outside, near the top of the front of the house was a decorative swastika. It was removed during World War II. By then, Dr. Bartle had moved, and the house was sold to his son, William and his wife, Mildred. During the late 1930s, several rooms were rented to University of Oregon students, a practice that continued until 1971 when Mildred Bartle sold the house to White Bird Clinic.
The clinic’s operations in the 1970s were a lot shakier than the sturdy structure in which they were housed. By 1972, both Dennis Ekanger and Frank Lemons had resigned. Several White Birders were arrested that year on drug charges; they were later acquitted. In October 1972, the clinic’s medical area was temporarily closed because of lack of supplies, lack of money, and lack of support from the Eugene medical community. The county’s medical society came forward to assist the clinic but told White Bird that it had to clean up its act, raise its standards, and be willing to accept outside advice on all medical matters.
Through all the clinic’s hassles in-the early years, a core of dedicated White Birders served the cause. They staffed the clinic’s drug detox program, continued round-the-clock crisis intervention services, and ran an ambitious drug education program in the community—giving frank talks to area schools, church groups, and civic organizations. They published a “Drug Education Primer,” which was distributed throughout Eugene, and they staged street “guerrilla” theater productions to raise community awareness and show the establishment where the cracks in the medical and mental health systems were.
White Bird’s topsy-turvy operations continued until the late 1970s. A soft-spoken transplanted New Yorker named Bob Dritz arrived in 1978. He became the clinic’s fiscal officer and ushered in a period of maturity and relative calm. In another life, Dritz could have been a CEO of a start-up company and made a small fortune.
But he used his expertise in fiscal planning and budget management to secure the future of White Bird, not make himself rich. like so many others of his generation, Dritz rejected conventional middle-class values and chose a life of community service and social activism. For his work on behalf of the clinic, Dritz gained near-legendary status. He was proclaimed the “financial savior” of the White Bird Clinic.
In July 1982, Bob Dritz assumed the role of clinic coordinator. At this point, the clinic was being recognized as a legitimate and vital link in the county’s health care system. It had an established crisis counselor training program (the Willamette School of Human Services) licensed by the state of Oregon. The clinic also had a diversified base of funding from local, county, state, and federal grants. By the end of the decade, Dritz would oversee a major expansion and diversification of clinic services.
Today, Bob Dritz talks about how the clinic continues to surprise its critics and leverage its clout as an alternative human service agency.
“We’re willing to take on assignments that no other organization wants or has the ability to perform,” Dritz says, sitting in his office on the second floor of the house with the prominent blue, white and gold bird-in-flight sign hanging above its wide front porch. Throughout its colorful history, the distinctive residence at 341 E. 12th Avenue has undergone many changes and transformations. But after 77 years, it remains a healing house for people in need in Lane County.
Massé has authored three books of literary journalism (“Vietnam Warrior Voices,” “Trauma Journalism” and “Inspired to Serve.”) He is also a novelist, whose latest work, “Honor House,” will be published on Amazon.com in summer 2020. For more information, visit: http://www.markmasse.com
At White Bird, we follow a client-centered model and believe that each person deserves respect for his or her process. Our role is to be available to help out where we can, with the least intervention necessary to facilitate a healthy and safe process for everyone. Our de-escalation training is $300 for a group of 25 individuals and provides an overview of assessment and intervention skills so that a lay-person can maintain personal safety and recognize when someone might need help.
We have offered this training throughout Lane County and Oregon. Groups that have benefited from our presentations include local schools, churches, social service agencies, local businesses, police departments, EMS and first responder groups, and many others. Training/Speaker Request Form
At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Describe verbal and non-verbal strategies to use in a crisis situation to help keep themselves and others as safe as possible.
Utilize grounding techniques for remaining emotionally regulated during an emotionally charged intervention or conversation
Demonstrate ways of interacting with people in crisis that communicates empathy, validation, and concern.
Summarize helpful tools for assessing a person’s well-being and need for further support or resources.
Trainers:Ben Brubaker works as Administrative Coordinator of White Bird Clinic. He began serving White Bird in September 2006. Ben first started as a full-time Crisis Worker (Qualified Mental Health Associate) on WBC’s 24/7 Crisis Line and Walk-in Center. A few years later he joined the mobile crisis intervention team (CAHOOTS) as a Crisis Worker and presenting internal and external training for the agency. He has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years, having held positions such as: Crisis Worker, Hurricane Katrina Relief Operational Site Coordinator, Day Counselor for youth, AmeriCorps Team Leader, and Direct Care Provider. Ben has dedicated his life to serving disadvantaged and underserved populations.
31 years ago the City of Eugene, Oregon developed an innovative community-based public safety system to provide mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction. White Bird Clinic launched CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) as a community policing initiative in 1989.
The CAHOOTS model has been in the spotlight recently as our nation struggles to reimagine public safety. The program mobilizes two-person teams consisting of a medic (a nurse, paramedic, or EMT) and a crisis worker who has substantial training and experience in the mental health field. The CAHOOTS teams deal with a wide range of mental health-related crises, including conflict resolution, welfare checks, substance abuse, suicide threats, and more, relying on trauma-informed de-escalation and harm reduction techniques. CAHOOTS staff are not law enforcement officers and do not carry weapons; their training and experience are the tools they use to ensure a non-violent resolution of crisis situations. They also handle non-emergent medical issues, avoiding costly ambulance transport and emergency room treatment.
A November 2016 study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine estimated that 20% to 50% of fatal encounters with law enforcement involved an individual with a mental illness. The CAHOOTS model demonstrates that these fatal encounters are not inevitable. Last year, out of a total of roughly 24,000 CAHOOTS calls, police backup was requested only 150 times.
The cost savings are considerable. The CAHOOTS program budget is about $2.1 million annually, while the combined annual budgets for the Eugene and Springfield police departments are $90 million. In 2017, the CAHOOTS teams answered 17% of the Eugene Police Department’s overall call volume. The program saves the city of Eugene an estimated $8.5 million in public safety spending annually.
CAHOOTS calls come to Eugene’s 911 system or the police non-emergency number. Dispatchers are trained to recognize non-violent situations with a behavioral health component and route those calls to CAHOOTS. A team will respond, assess the situation and provide immediate stabilization in case of urgent medical need or psychological crisis, assessment, information, referral, advocacy, and, when warranted, transportation to the next step in treatment.
White Bird’s CAHOOTS provides consulting and strategic guidance to communities across the nation that are seeking to replicate CAHOOTS’ model. Contact us if you are interested in our consultation services program.
Responding to someone in crisis can be difficult, and knowing someone is suicidal can be scary, especially when we’re not sure how to respond. For many of us, our natural reactions to crisis can quickly escalate a situation and make things worse. That’s why professional crisis workers seek out training and practice crisis intervention strategies so that they’re prepared to navigate a crisis situation and offer support. When we develop a plan for offering support in crisis situations, it is more likely we will not go into crisis ourselves when assisting someone.
Often, for those experiencing suicidal thoughts, help can be as simple as having someone to talk to. For many, social isolation, history of trauma, mental health issues, or belonging to historically oppressed groups can lead to periods of suicidal ideation. But how do you know if someone is experiencing suicidal ideation? Often there may be signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Some warning signs of suicidal ideation can include:
Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
Seeking access to means to hurt or kill oneself
Talking, thinking or writing about death, dying or suicide
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Withdrawing from family, friends or society
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge, appearing agitated or angry
Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live, or being a burden to others
Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
Talking about great guilt or shame
Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
Giving away important possessions
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. Suicidal ideation is complex and there is no single cause, people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk. In fact, many different factors contribute to someone making a suicide attempt. But people most at risk tend to share certain characteristics known as risk factors.
Often, family and friends are the first to recognize the warning signs of suicidal ideation and can be the first to assist in reaching out and getting help. Showing someone who may be experiencing a crisis that you care can make a world of difference in their life. Know how to start the conversation. Know how to ask, “Are you suicidal?” Know how to say, “I’m here for you,” and really mean it. Be aware of resources available in your community like the White Bird Crisis Line, CAHOOTS Mobile Crisis Services or the Help Book.
Risk Factors vs. Protective Factors
Characteristic and attribute that reduce the likelihood of attempting or completing suicide are known as Protective Factors. They are skills, strengths, or resources that help people deal more adequately with stressful events. Protective Factors enhance resilience and help to counterbalance Risk Factors.
Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
Family and community support (connectedness)
Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation
Risk factors impact our ability to manage high stress situations. Being aware of these factors can assist if you are in crisis or helping someone in crisis.
Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities
Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
Certain medical conditions
A prior suicide attempt
Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
Family history of suicide
Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
Having guns or other firearms in the home
Having recently been released from prison or jail
Suicidal thoughts can come on at any time like a tidal wave. Like a tidal wave, suicidal thoughts can leave a wake of destruction in their path. It is important for someone experiencing these strong thoughts and emotions to have an anchor during one these episodes. Suicidal ideation can make it seem like death is the only way out in that moment. Our rational mind may not be able to see any other solution when amid suicidal ideation. If we can help someone ride out the wave until they receive professional help, the likelihood of suicide is greatly reduced. Below are 10 steps to assist you in helping someone in crisis.
Step 2. Be respectful and acknowledge the person’s feelings.
Step 3. Don’t be patronizing or judgmental.
Step 4. Never promise to keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret.
Step 5. Offer reassurance that things can get better.
Step 6. Encourage the person to avoid alcohol and drug use.
Step 7. Remove potentially dangerous items from the person’s home, if possible.
Step 8. Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number. You as the helper can also call.
Step 9. Encourage the person to seek professional help.
Step 10. Offer to help the person take steps to get assistance and support.
For our 24/7 CAHOOTS mobile crisis services, call the police non-emergency numbers 541-726-3714 (Springfield) and 541-682-5111 (Eugene). For our 24/7 crisis hotline, call 541-687-4000 or toll free at 1-800-422-7558.
White Bird will be participating in the “Only Way Forward” webinar series examining the impacts of Canada’s existing criminal justice system, possible alternatives, and next steps on November 12, 4-6 pm PST. Tim Black joins a panel discussion on alternative forms of policing and prisons that have been successful.
What are they and why do they work?
Tim Black, White Bird Clinic
Tim Black is the Director of Consulting at White Bird Clinic. With a background in runaway and homeless youth, harm reduction, and street outreach, he began working for CAHOOTS as a Crisis Intervention Worker in 2010, before moving into an administrative role as the CAHOOTS Operations Coordinator.
His work with White Bird and CAHOOTS has put him in touch with cities across North America looking to implement services based on the CAHOOTS model of behavioral health first response. Programs based on the CAHOOTS model have been implemented in Olympia, Washington, and Denver, Colorado. In addition to his work with White Bird Clinic, Tim also serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Eugene’s Community Supported Shelters.
Judy Cameron, Mental Health Counsellor
Judy Cameron is a member of Fort Albany First Nation and is currently living in Thunder Bay, ON. She is a mother of two and grandmother of 4 with 35 years of experience working with individuals and families in Addictions, Advocacy and Child Protection Services in a variety of settings throughout Northern Ontario. She was also a part time instructor at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, teaching classes in the Native Child and Family Worker and the Community Aboriginal Advocacy programs – the vast majority of my work has been with Indigenous children, families and communities.
Despite retiring in 2011, Judy is currently working as a mental health counsellor in Wapekeka First Nation.
“I am honoured to be a part of the Only Way Forward initiative and hope that our dialogue will bring about some meaningful change in Canadian society for the betterment of all peoples.”
Rick Kelly, Just Us : A Centre for Restorative Practices
Rick Kelly lives, as a visitor, on the traditional lands of the Anishnaabeg people. He was first introduced to the restorative model thru an indigenous lens. He has been trained by a Buddhist, rogue teacher, police officer, pastor from youth detention and Kay Pranis at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CMU).
He has an MA in Restorative Practices, a BA in philosophy which he was told would doom him to a short and dead-end career, and an advanced diploma in youth work. Rick works to demonstrably unhook form the legacy of the predominant justice system in order to build ecosystems that are just and equitable. This is a continuous and evolving process of understanding and development.
A birth certificate is an important legal document. It is needed to apply for other forms of identification (such as a driver’s license, Social Security card, or state ID card) that you need in order to:
Get a place to live
Apply for and receive public assistance, and
Remove other barriers.
Starting July 1, 2018, individuals who are homeless can come to White Bird to get help ordering their Oregon birth certificate free of charge. We will
You will need to mail your order form, check, documentation, and completed application to Oregon Vital Records. Vital Records will mail your birth certificate to you in care of the address on the order form.
Can I get my birth certificate for free if I was born in another state?
Yes. A list of acceptable proofs of identity is on the Oregon Vital Records website. If you don’t have acceptable proofs of identity, we will help you work with Oregon Vital Records to determine what information is needed to release your birth certificate.
Can I get free birth certificates for my family?
No. The grant program was established for individuals who are homeless to get their own birth certificate free of charge. This grant program does not provide funds to get family members’ birth certificates.
Where will my birth certificate be mailed?
Your birth certificate will be mailed to the address on your order form. The envelope will be addressed to you since it is your birth certificate.
Will I be able to use the birth certificate to get other documents such as an Oregon identification card or driver’s license?
Yes. A birth certificate is a legal document used to establish identity. It shows who you are, and when and where you were born. Your birth certificate is a legal document and is confidential. Be sure to keep it in a safe place.
For more information, please contact NEST at 541-342-1295 or drop in at 323 E 12th Ave, Eugene OR 97401 Monday through Thursday 9:30am to 12:00pm at 323 E 12th Ave. Assistance is also available by phone, call us at 541-816-2793 (10 AM – 2 PM).
On Friday, October 16thwe will be in Eugene at the Catholic Community Services center at 1464 W 6th Ave, Eugene from 8 am-12 pm. CCS will concurrently be holding their food pantry program that runs the same hours.
On Friday, Oct 23rdwe will be holding the clinic in the parking lot of the library/community center parking lot at 700 E. Gibbs Ave, Cottage Grove. This one will be held the hours of 3 pm-7 pm to accommodate working families in Cottage Grove.
On Friday, October 30th we will be in Springfield at the Catholic Community Services center at 1025 G St, Springfield from 8 am-12 pm. CCS will concurrently be holding their food pantry program that runs the same hours.
Free flu vaccine clinic today at Catholic Community Services center!! It’s a joint effort between PeaceHealth, White Bird, and CCS at 464 W 6th Ave in Eugene from 8 am-12 pm. We’re also doing one in Cottage Grove next Friday and Springfield the Friday after that. pic.twitter.com/t6R1Yluoja
Adults and children ages 7 and older can receive the flu vaccine at pharmacies, which are often able to bill insurance. Get the flu vaccine at:
• Primary care provider or at a pharmacy or by appointment at Lane County Public Health
Children younger than 6 years old, get the flu vaccine at:
• Primary care provider or by appointment at Lane County Public Health
To schedule an appointment at Lane County Public Health, please call (541) 682-4041 or call 711 for TTY/Relay Services. Se habla español. Lane County Public Health is located at 151 W. 7th Ave., Ste. 310, on the corner of 7th and Charnelton, open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
White Bird has received a generous grant from Hearts for Hospice to assist uninsured clients with End of Life Counseling services, in addition to supporting community outreach and education, training, and operational expenses for the project. White Bird End of Life Counseling is a compassionate, client-centered service that provides support for psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual issues related to death and dying. Our goal is to help ease people through the process of dying, especially those who could not otherwise receive support or services. When a person is terminally ill and has few resources, they may wait until their health deteriorates to the point of hospitalization before seeking services. This means not getting the necessary care until it’s unavoidable. Once the person is ill enough to visit the emergency department, they may be hospitalized or transferred to a nursing home. Our End of Life Counseling program seeks to serve clients who may otherwise be at risk of these stressful outcomes.
The project is lead by Amy May (MSW, QMHP), a member of the White Bird Counseling Department and the CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets) team. She has a personal interest in end of life counseling and providing emotional, mental, and spiritual support for people who traditionally have difficulty accessing counseling services. These difficulties may include behavioral issues, substance use disorder, lack of in-home services due to lack of housing, or difficulty maintaining housing. Her beliefs stem from a concern that the dying process is overlooked in our culture, rather than recognized as something sacred and crucial. End of life counseling seeks to help people accept that process and to become at peace with all the difficulties and unknowns. Traditional hospice services partially fill this role, but do not provide ongoing mental health counseling and may be inaccessible to people who are unhoused.
Counselor Amy May discussed her work as an end of life counselor and death doula at White Bird Clinic with Paul van Waardenburg in the latest Revolution RN podcast https://t.co/T6jom2sb6P
White Bird will provide end of life counseling in clients’ homes and over the phone/video, by addressing the social determinants of health, coordinating care, and providing case management. When a person is terminally ill and has few resources, they may wait until their health deteriorates to the point of hospitalization before seeking services. Eugene and Springfield are served by several hospice programs, but only ours provides ongoing therapy at home. We combine the end of life doula model with mental health counseling, with special emphasis on low income and unhoused community members. Before our program, the area had only two such doulas, neither of whom were counselors. The project will serve a need for people who may be socially isolated, low income, housing insecure, disengaged from the social service system, or face other barriers to accessing hospice services.
Community support has allowed White Bird to care for the most vulnerable among us for decades. We’re grateful for all we’ve accomplished together. In order to ensure that we’re working in alignment, we request that folks get in touch with us when planning anything to support White Bird, such as events or fundraisers. We’ll be happy to share ideas or lend a hand.