The Park Avenue Healing Center Project began mid-March 2005 as the result of several events that brought to the attention of the Ketchikan community that a significant number of trust beneficiaries who suffer from mental illness and/or chronic substance abuse were not being reached through traditional means. It was decided that they needed and deserved to be reached for services. If an alternative was not offered they would not otherwise take advantage of available mental health and substance abuse services and would remain isolated and distant from resources meant to help them.
The project is designed to serve southern Southeast Alaska and will integrate body, mind and spirit in the spirit of holistic health practices. This downtown Ketchikan setting offers a convenient but attractive serene setting for beneficiaries to meet, plan and work together in a comfortable safe setting. The building and the rambling creek behind it attract the population at large and brings life sustenance to the beneficiaries who are in dire need of alternative life services. This group has a history of rejecting traditional mental health/substance abuse services that are too often associated with stigma and discrimination. The goal of the project is to offer opportunities for self help and peer-support help in a non-discriminating, non-stigmatizing, non-hostile, drug free and safe caring environment. The beneficiaries receiving services will define appropriate boundaries and rules for the center in conjunction with other participants sharing the building.
The Park Avenue Center for the Healing Arts is located on Ketchikan Creek where the four elements, fire, water, earth and wood, all meet together in a culturally appropriate setting as defined by the traditional holistic health approaches of Native Alaskans. The project will also explore the possibility that there will be a steam and spa usable for talking circles and sweats in the sauna.
The approach that is being used is effective because in most cases, the initial contact with the program occurs in a non-stigmatizing situation. All people both beneficiaries and non beneficiaries share some of the space and have separate areas for their individual meetings and concerns. Many other self help meetings include but are not limited to Twelve Step, co-counseling and Toast masters allow beneficiaries to have access to the larger population as they learn and practice new skills or refresh themselves on old skills they haven?t used for some time. The separate and shared areas for beneficiaries are located in a safe, familiar and calming environment.
For more information, contact Beth LaCrosse at (907) 225-8552 or (907) 617-3547