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White Bird Executive Coordinator Attends White House 4th of July Celebrating Nation’s Birth and Pandemic Progress

EUGENE, OREGON – Chris Hecht, White Bird Clinic Executive Coordinator, was invited to attend Sunday’s July 4th celebration on the South Lawn of the White House. More than 1,000 essential workers, vaccination program leaders, and military families were at the event, which celebrated the national progress towards ending the pandemic. President Biden told event attendees that the USA is “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus” and thanked them for their contributions to this national effort.

White Bird Clinic’s vaccination project was honored at Sunday’s White House Independence Day celebration that commemorated the holiday and celebrated the nation’s progress toward overcoming COVID-19. Chris Hecht, White Bird’s Executive Coordinator and head of the vaccination project, was invited to be among the 1,000 people gathered for the largest planned event of Joe Biden’s presidency. Mr. Hecht represented the White Bird volunteers and staff that have provided more than 7,200 inoculations to residents of Eugene and surrounding areas. White Bird was selected for this honor in recognition of the Clinic’s work in advancing vaccine equity and the agency’s focus on reaching under-served groups, including homeless, BIPOC and LGBTQA+ communities.

“President Biden spoke about our nation’s progress with COVID-19,” says Hecht. “But he didn’t claim that we’ve finished the job. He thanked us all for the extraordinary progress we’ve made while recognizing that we have some serious work left.” Hecht also met First Lady Jill Biden and they spoke about White Bird’s work reaching marginalized communities.

White Bird began vaccinating Lane County residents in January. The agency then opened two brick-and-mortar vaccination clinics and joined the federal health center vaccination project in order to obtain a direct supply of doses. Hecht said those clinics have closed so that White Bird can focus on underserved rural communities. The outreach service will utilize a custom-outfitted vaccination van awarded by the Oregon Health Authority.

Please contact our partners at the Lane Community Health Council to set up an outreach clinic. Please contact Adria Godom-Bynum at adria.g.bynum@gmail.com or call 458-240-7152.

CAHOOTS Initial Consultation Survey

Thank you for reaching out to White Bird Clinic regarding CAHOOTS.

Please fill out the following form to help us direct your inquiry. We’d like to know more about your organization and community’s goals and where you are at in the process of establishing a mobile crisis response program.

Please click here for the survey form.

 

Gracias por contactar a White Bird en cuanto al programa CAHOOTS.

Por favor complete el siguiente formulario para poder responder a sus preguntas. Nos interesa saber más sobre su organización y las metas de su comunidad, y dónde se encuentran en el proceso de establecer un programa ambulante de reacción a las crisises.

Oprima aquí para el formulario.

White Bird Receives American Rescue Plan funding

The Biden Administration has invested more than $6 Billion from the American Rescue Plan into Community Health Centers nationwide via the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA), in order to support and expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver needed preventive and primary health care services to those at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units.

This investment will help increase access to vaccinations among hard-hit populations, as well as confidence in the vaccine by empowering local, trusted health professionals in their efforts to expand vaccinations.

HRSA-funded health centers are community-based and patient-centered organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care. Nationwide, nearly 1,400 centers operate about 13,000 sites, providing primary and preventive care on a sliding fee scale to nearly 30 million patients each year. More than 91 percent of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and nearly 63 percent are racial/ethnic minorities. Health centers across the nation are playing vital roles in supporting local community responses to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

White Bird Clinic is one of the 1,337 CHCs nationwide, and 30 in Oregon, named grant reward recipients. The grant covers a two-year project period and will allow White Bird to provide thorough, equitable vaccine care to the community, continue to test for COVID-19, and deliver quality care to local residents regardless of income level or housing status.

Read the White House fact sheet

Vaccination

Drag Queens and Vaccines!

QT Clinic Presents: Drag Queens and Vaccines! A vaccine clinic for BIPOC and LGBTQIA++ Community featuring Moderna!

Pre-registration required: https://tinyurl.com/QTclinic

Saturday, May 1st & Sunday, May 2nd from 3:00-7:00pm at Spectrum on 150 W Broadway

Second dose appointments will be made at the end of your first appointment for either Saturday, May 29th or Sunday, May 30th. Same times, same place!

Registered nurses from White Bird will be joined by LGBTQ+ community organizers for an intentional queermunity experience in our beloved local queer & trans venue, Spectrum!! The vaccine clinic will feature DJing by Tinta Turnter and Purity L’Chaste, and will have drag personalities playing along!

We will have free HIV and STI testing provided by HIV Alliance.

Let’s build queermunity together!

Sign Up

Download Flyers to Share

Hearts for Hospice logo

White Bird End of Life Counseling

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.


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.

Temporary Relocation of White Bird Medical Clinic

by Savannah “Poppy” Marin

We have officially moved our clinic for the remodel that is being done at 1400 Mill Street. Our new location is 450 W. 5th Avenue. Our temporary space has one medical exam room and one behavioral health room for seeing patients. There are no walk-up appointments being offered at this time. While our capacity to see patients in person have been somewhat reduced, we continue to offer tele-med and tele-psych appointments in addition to in-person care and we have resumed accepting new patients who wish to establish care with a primary care provider.

We are looking forward to returning to the remodeled clinic! Post-remodel, the medical clinic will give us the opportunity to serve a lot more patients with the addition of a walk-in clinic. There are so many new possibilities for increased patient care on the horizon. We also have welcomed some new faces to the medical clinic staff, and are always looking to hire more!

White Bird Medical Clinic is not handling the scheduling or administering COVID vaccination shots. White Bird vaccination clinic is a separate team, operating at the WOW Hall. Please do not direct calls or questions about vaccination to the medical clinic, as it ties up our phones and interferes with patient care. Please refer those who wish to register for vaccination or have questions regarding vaccination, click here or call the vaccination scheduling line at (541) 246-2341. Thank you!

White Bird Medical Clinic provides compassionate health care to people who might not otherwise get care, treating all with dignity and respect. We offer quality health care to everyone on a sliding fee scale. 

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff Visits White Bird Clinic’s Vaccine Site

Emhoff Highlights White Bird’s Vaccination Equity Efforts

Download Press Release

EUGENE, OREGON – Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Governor Kate Brown, and Representative Peter DeFazio visited White Bird’s vaccination clinic to learn about the agency’s work advancing COVID-19 vaccination equity by forming innovative partnerships with community-based organizations.

With strong support from the Biden-Harris administration’s Health Center Vaccine Program and funding from the American Rescue Act, federally qualified health centers such as White Bird Clinic are on the front lines of promoting vaccine equity. Oregon’s 34 FQHC’s care for almost half a million patients and serve as the cornerstone of the regional healthcare system, providing care for underserved communities, including communities of color. White Bird has vaccinated more than 2,500 people, approximately 40% of whom identify as non-white, in a state that is 75% white. In partnership with organizations serving communities of color, White Bird will operate mobile vaccination clinics that meet people where they are at, in order to reduce disparities in health and healthcare.

The community organizations will develop culturally appropriate messaging and implement outreach strategies that best reach their constituents, then sponsor easily accessible vaccination clinics. White Bird will bring its mobile medical unit to each site and provide vaccine and the clinical staff that will administer it and then monitor recipients post-inoculation.

The federal Health Center Vaccine Program provides White Bird with a direct supply of all three vaccines and the American Rescue Act’s allocation of $7.6B to Health Centers includes funding for vaccination initiatives such as White Bird’s. “The Biden-Harris administration’s philosophical and financial support for vaccination equity is the wind behind our sails in our effort to ensure that no one misses the opportunity to be vaccinated,” said Chris Hecht, Executive Coordinator.

Nationally, the vaccination rate of BIPOC individuals is roughly half that of whites. The Biden-Harris administration’s priority to reduce disparities in the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines will mitigate the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color and reduce health and healthcare disparities. Achieving high vaccination rates across individuals and communities is essential to achieving broader population immunity.

The entire community is working together to make this project a success. Nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other medically-trained community members volunteer to administer vaccines. Project partners including Centro Latino Americano, Downtown Languages, St. Mark CME church, Huerto de la Familia, and 8:46 Justice Today are mobilizing their constituents and promoting vaccination. The Community Center for the Performing Arts/WOW Hall provides their music venue as a facility. Support for the project is provided by PeaceHealth, Pacific Source, and the Lane Community Health Council.

https://www.facebook.com/KLCCOregon/posts/10158263867506033

White Bird Clinic Supports the Right to Rest Act

On Thursday, March 4th, White Bird Clinic committed to endorsing the Oregon Right To Rest Act (HB 2367). We know from experience that the criminalization of homelessness harms our entire community: public funds drained by punitive measures and “clean-up” initiatives only deepen poverty by creating legal barriers to exiting homelessness.

Penalizing people for living in public when no other options are available is not a deterrent, it is cruel and unusual punishment. Saddling people living in extraordinarily difficult circumstances with fines they can not pay and criminal records that create additional barriers to housing and employment has not prevented homelessness in Lane County, it has created chronic homelessness on a scale unseen in other communities across the United States.

Our municipalities have invested enormous resources in the enforcement of anti-homeless laws (including policing, court processing costs, and incarceration). These policies are often enforced in a discriminatory manner and force people living unsheltered into unsafe and unsanitary situations where the risk of being attacked is increased. Sleep is essential to everyone’s health, well-being, and ability to function. The lack of rest resulting from constant harassment exacerbates and causes physical and mental health issues.

Federal research confirms what many homeless community members already know: the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has clearly stated that successful responses to homelessness must include an end to criminalization practices, as well as the provision of housing and supportive services. It is not enough to create housing, we must also prevent harm.

This bill does NOT give people the right to leave trash about, urinate in public, aggressively panhandle, block a doorway or passageway, or engage in destructive activities. This bill simply makes it legal for people to move freely, rest, sleep, protect themselves from the elements, eat and share food, and other basic acts necessary for human survival.

The Right To Rest Act (HB 2367) is critical life-saving legislation for our houseless community. It has been called the bill that cannot be killed because of the amount of overwhelming public support it has received in all of the states it has been heard.

But despite HB 2367 receiving an overwhelming amount of public support, the March 9th committee hearing for Right to Rest was suddenly and unexpectedly canceled by the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bynum, the day before the hearing. This came as a shock to endorsers of the bill, all those who had submitted written testimony (80+ people), those who were planning to submit written testimony, and/or those who signed up to speak at the hearing.

The public was outraged! Thanks to everyone who contacted Chair Bynum asking her to reschedule the hearing for the Right to Rest Act. Due to overwhelming public pressure, HB 2367 was rescheduled for a public hearing and work session on April 13th at 1pm, and all of the written testimony that was previously removed is back online!

White Bird Clinic has joined in submitting joint testimony with Western Regional Advocacy Project, Rural Organizing Project, and others to add our voices to demand that the City offer emergency shelter, affordable housing, resources, and legal places to rest. We need to decriminalize homelessness and help support and stabilize our clients so they can access the resources they need, including first and foremost, the right to sleep. Please join us in supporting the Oregon Right To Rest Act (HB 2367) by submitting your written testimony before the hearing before legislators on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM PST. You can also register to testify remotely by phone at 833-588-4500.

White Bird and CAHOOTS are excited to submit the following joint testimony in support of the Right to Rest Act (HB 2367).

House Committee on Judiciary Chair Rep. Janelle Bynum
Vice-Chairs Reps Ron Noble and Karin Power
Committee Members Reps Ken Helm, Jason Kropf, Rick Lewis, Lily Morgan, Kim Wallan, Maxine Dexter and Marty Wilde
CC: Reps Wlnsvy Campos (sponsor), Khanh Pham, Dacia Grayber and Maxine Dexter (co-sponsors)

Re: Support Right To Rest Act HB 2367

Date: April 5, 2021

Dear Chair Bynum,

We are submitting this testimony on behalf of undersigned individuals and organizations, all of whom wholeheartedly support the Right to Rest Act, HB 2367. We acknowledge the abject failure of municipal laws that criminalize poverty and homelessness, and we recognize that passage of this legislation will result in more humane and effective responses to homelessness. At a time when Oregon is failing to fulfill our shared value that everyone deserves a safe, decent place to call home, we must stop criminalizing homelessness and redouble our efforts to ensure that we are addressing the root cause of homelessness and not the symptoms. People experiencing homelessness in our community are literally dying because they are prevented from protecting themselves from the elements and are continually pushed into hidden, unsafe areas.

Criminalization is violent, unjust, counterproductive, and creates insurmountable physical and mental barriers that prevent people from getting off the streets. Efforts to address poverty in Oregon using targeted policing strategies have increased dramatically in recent years, and yet the number of people living unsheltered continues to increase. Criminalization further entrenches people into poverty because, in addition to causing a lack of sleep that exacerbates existing physical and mental health conditions, it directly blocks pathways to stability. As people accrue “quality of life” violations, it becomes virtually impossible for them to access essential resources designated to help them: “Even minor crimes can lead to serious consequences, including the loss of a job or the denial of employment, housing, government benefits, and treatment and services” (ACLU Oregon, “Why the Right to Rest is the High Road for Oregon,” pg. 19).

Homeless people are overwhelmingly charged with crimes of survival, and the Right to Rest Act ensures that all Oregonians, regardless of housing status, are able to stand, rest and share food in public spaces. This bill does not give people the right to leave trash about, urinate in public, aggressively panhandle, block a doorway or passageway, or engage in destructive activities. It also does not alter local governments’ ability to enforce laws prohibiting trash, drug use, or public sex. The Right to Rest Act does not grant homeless people special rights, but rather protects their shared right to exist in public spaces without threat of discrimination or harassment.

When there is no public space in which homeless people are legally allowed to conduct activities that everyone must do, they will always be targets for law enforcement or private security forces. This discriminatory pattern – in which laws that will inevitably be broken are created and then brutally enforced – is as American as apple pie: the United States has a long, well-documented history of local governments using their authority to implement local time, place and manner restrictions to target “undesirable” populations and remove them from public spaces, be it Sundown Towns, anti-Okie laws, or Ugly Laws (which criminalized people with disabilities). In extreme cases, the underlying idea that the targets of such laws are disgusting or immoral means that people like James Plymell are allowed to be killed with little to no consequence. Initiatives that infringe on the most basic human and civil rights are, in fact, a dangerous and destructive attack on the only thing that very poor people have to call their own — their humanity.

The solution to homelessness is permanent housing. We must work together to ensure that truly affordable, accessible and adequate housing is available to all who need it. As long as policing remains the first, and in many cases the only response to homeless people who are experiencing mental health crises, using drugs, or simply existing in public spaces as James Plymell was, we will not be seeing the “end of homelessness” anytime soon.

In solidarity,
Right to Survive
Sisters of the Road
Portland-Metro People’s Coalition (PMPC)
Rural Organizing Project (ROP)
Rise and Resist Southern Oregon
Siskiyou Street News
Western Regional Advocacy Project
White Bird Clinic

White Bird Clinic is one of Nine Oregon Health Centers to Join Federal Vaccine Program

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today that clinics in Portland, Oregon City, Grants Pass, Eugene, Tillamook, Prineville and Medford will be invited to join the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program over the next six weeks. The nine clinics join Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, the Neighborhood Health Center in Portland, Multnomah, and Lane counties in the program.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched this vaccine program to directly allocate COVID-19 vaccine to HRSA-supported health centers to ensure underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are equitably vaccinated.

“Getting as many Oregonians vaccinated as soon as possible saves lives and gets our state and country that much closer to emerging from this public health and economic crisis,” said Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “A painful lesson after one year of battling coronavirus is how the virus lands especially hard on low-income Oregonians in communities of color, tribal communities and rural communities. Today’s news is a real shot in the arm to help all those communities.”

“We know that getting as many vaccines into arms as quickly as possible is key to save lives and end this pandemic,” said Merkley. “We need to do everything we can to make that happen, including ensuring that our rural, tribal, and low-income communities—who have faced unique challenges and in many ways felt the brunt of the coronavirus crisis—aren’t left out. I’m grateful that these health centers are joining this powerful vaccine program, and will continue to work to bring vaccines to underserved Oregonians in every corner of our state.”

HRSA-funded health centers are community-based and patient-centered organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care. Nationwide, nearly 1,400 centers operate about 13,000 sites, providing primary and preventive care on a sliding fee scale to nearly 30 million patients each year. More than 91 percent of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and nearly 63 percent are racial/ethnic minorities. Health centers across the nation are playing vital roles in supporting local community responses to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Prior to today, 250 health centers were invited to this program, and include those that serve a large volume of the following: disproportionately affected populations: individuals experiencing homelessness, public housing residents, migrant/seasonal agricultural workers, or patients with limited English proficiency.

Today, an additional 700 health centers were invited to participate in the next phase of the program and include those that serve high proportions of patients living with low income and from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, provide services to rural/frontier populations, operate Tribal/Urban Indian Health Programs, and/or use mobile vans to deliver services.

  • A list of the health centers participating in or invited to join the program is here.
  • Read the full press release is here.

 

White Bird Partners with the WOW Hall for COVID-19 Vaccination Program

EUGENE, OREGON – White Bird Clinic is partnering with the Community Center for the Performing Arts/WOW Hall to offer COVID-19 vaccinations. A team of volunteers will allow White Bird to vaccinate up to 800 people each week.

White Bird has opened a vaccination clinic at the WOW Hall in order to scale up vaccinations and offer an accessible indoor space in downtown Eugene. Nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other medically-trained community members have volunteered to administer vaccines, and volunteer clerical staff keep the operation running smoothly. White Bird staff coordinate the effort. The CCPA is providing the facility below cost because its new board agreed unanimously that this was the best possible use of the facility during this time of crisis.

A month ago White Bird began vaccinating health care professionals. In support of Lane County Public Health, White Bird is now vaccinating all individuals who are eligible according to the CDC. As a vital resource for Eugene and Springfield for more than fifty years, White Bird demonstrates how Community Health Centers are the cornerstone of the regional healthcare system.

To learn more and register for vaccination visit https://whitebirdclinic.org/vaccine or call 541-246-2341.

This crucial effort is only possible because volunteers are willing to give their time and expertise to help fellow community members. In addition to medical staff, the project needs greeters and all sorts of other help. Folks who would like to volunteer can visit http://bit.ly/wbc-volunteer to sign up.

The WOW Hall, located at 291 W. 8th Ave., is operated by the Community Center for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to providing cultural arts and educational opportunities for all ages and income levels and maintaining a supportive environment for local artists and their new creative efforts.

Staff at the WOW Hall and White Bird’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 providing care for our community.

In 1969, a group of student activists and concerned practitioners came together to provide crisis services and free medical care for counter-culture youth in Eugene, OR. Having grown continuously since then, today White Bird Clinic has 10 programs, 220 staff members, and more than 400 volunteers each year.

Download Press Release

White Bird is Vaccinating the Community

White Bird is committed to advancing vaccination equity in Lane County.

White Bird now offers Covid-19 vaccinations by appointment at 1400 Mill St., Eugene, OR.

We are currently offering Moderna, Pfizer and J&J Vaccines: 1st, 2nd and Boosters for ages 18 y/o +.
2nd Boosters are recommended for anyone 50+ or moderately or severely immune compromised (such as with cancer, HIV, or organ transplant).
Mondays: 9-11AM
Wednesdays: 1-3PM
Fridays: 3-5PM
To schedule a vaccination appointment at 1400 Mill St., please call (541) 484-4800.

Book a vaccination clinic for your community!

Please contact our partners at the Lane Community Health Clinic to set up an outreach clinic. Please contact Adria Godom-Bynum or call 458-240-7152.

Información en Español

Who is eligible for the vaccine?
If you are 12 or older, you’re eligible!
We are currently using Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
1st, 2nd and Boosters!

How can I volunteer to help?

This crucial effort is only possible because volunteers are willing to give their time and expertise to help fellow community members. In addition to medical staff, the project needs greeters and all sorts of other help.

Click here to sign up to volunteer

More Information / Información en Español

Crisis 101

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.

Protective 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.

Risk Factors:

  • 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
  • Chronic pain
  • 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.

Ten Steps to Help a Person in Crisis

Step 1. Encourage the person to communicate with you.

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.

Senators Propose Funding to Improve Public Safety with Mobile Crisis Response Teams

Press Release from Jeff Merkley, US Senator for Oregon

After Down Payment on the Policy Included in Reconciliation Relief Legislation, CAHOOTS Act Builds on Proven Models to Help Americans with Mental Illness and Enhances Medicaid Funding to States

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and six senators today proposed a bill to help states adopt mobile crisis response teams that can be dispatched when a person is experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder (SUD) crisis instead of immediately involving law enforcement. The funding is provided through an enhanced federal match rate for state Medicaid programs.

“I’m proud there is a down payment on CAHOOTS in the emergency relief package moving through Congress now,” Wyden said. “Every day there are stories across the country of Americans in mental distress getting killed or mistreated because they did not receive the emergency mental health services they needed. White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon has been a pioneer for years in this area, and it’s high time the CAHOOTS model is made available to states and local governments across the country. I am eager to get the down payment signed into law and continue working to get further investments in mobile crisis services made under the bill across the finish line.”

“Individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis deserve to be treated with compassion and care by health care and social workers,”Cortez Masto said. “These professionals are extensively trained in deescalating situations and addressing mental health crises, and this legislation would help more states across the country fund mobile crisis teams. I’m hopeful that these investments in community-based crisis intervention services will be included in the final version of the current coronavirus relief package, and I’ll continue to advocate for effective, trauma-informed care for those in need.”

Earlier this month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee included a provision in its budget reconciliation language for COIVD-19 relief that makes an investment in these services by funding state Medicaid programs at an enhanced 85 percent federal match if they choose to provide qualifying community-based crisis intervention services and funding state planning grants to apply for the option. The pandemic has taken a serious toll on the mental health and wellbeing of Americans with studies showing a four-fold increase in the rates of anxiety and depressive disorders since the beginning of the pandemic.


The bill, the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) Act, grants states further enhanced federal Medicaid funding for three years to provide community-based mobile crisis services to individuals experiencing a mental health or SUD crisis. It also provides $25 million for planning grants to states and evaluations to help establish or build out mobile crisis programs and evaluate them.

Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., are co-sponsors of the CAHOOTS Act.

 

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A one-page summary of the bill can be found here. Legislative text can be found here.

Crisis De-escalation Training

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

In addition to custom workshops, we also partner with the Trauma Healing project to offer individual coursework.

Date: March 31, 2021
Location:
This training will be live via Zoom – Invitation to join will be sent after registration.
Time:
2:00-4:00pm PST
Cost:
$35.  Student discounts and reduced fees available for those in need.
Registration link

Limited scholarship support available to attend these trainings, please fill out a Scholarship Request Form before registering.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe verbal and non-verbal strategies to use in a crisis situation to help keep themselves and others as safe as possible.
  2. Utilize grounding techniques for remaining emotionally regulated during an emotionally charged intervention or conversation
  3. Demonstrate ways of interacting with people in crisis that communicates empathy, validation, and concern.
  4. 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. 

Protecting One Another: When to Engage Public Safety

“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.
  • The workshop is available upon request.

Trainer/ Speaker Request Form

CAHOOTS: A Model for Prehospital Mental Health Crisis Intervention

By Ben Adam Climer and Brenton Gicker

From the January 2021 edition of Psychiatric Times

Download PDF

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.

cahoots medic

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.

Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada have proposed a bill that would give states $25 million to establish or build up existing programs. 

How Does It Work?

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.

CAHOOTS Crisis Worker

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.

Interview with White Bird’s Death Doula

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.

For more information about accessing these services, please email amymay@whitebirdclinic.org or call 458-215-1170.

Public Benefits Assistance with SSI/SSDI Applications

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.

For more information and to set up an appointment, please contact us at 541-816-2793 between 10am and 4pm.

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.)
  • A list of medications prescribed (if applicable)
  • The last 15 years’ work history

What the Public Benefits Advocate Can Do:

  • Acts as a representative on the claim – allows the benefits advocate to speak to the Social Security Administration and Disability Determination Services (SSA and DDS) on the client’s behalf. Also receives copies of all correspondence sent to the claimant; can be a consistent point contact person for SSA/DDS.
  • 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.

*SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is a national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.

For more information and to set up an appointment, please contact us at 541-816-2793 between 10am and 4pm.

Home Share Oregon!

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.

Home Share Oregon One Pager (PDF)

How Home Sharing Works (PDF)

Home Sharing for Renters

Home Share Oregon is committed to helping renters find affordable, stable housing. They offer these services to those who qualify:

  • Assistance creating your home sharing profile
  • Resources for move-in costs
  • Tools for creating alternative rental agreements
  • And more

All Home Share Oregon services are free to renters. Sign up today to explore listings and options.

Presentation to the Eugene Neighborhood Leaders Council Housing/Homelessness Subcommittee Meeting – Spring 2020