Mental Health Panel

The effects of trauma and long term stress in individuals are mostly invisible to the outside world, like the bulk of the iceberg below the water surface. Trauma informed practice asks us all to go beneath the surface to first recognize the behavior as a call for help, and, how we maintain our regulation to be able to respond in a supportive manner.

Our Mental Health panelists give us that glimpse of diving below the surface, to understand how toxic stress has impacted development in the clients they serve. Andrea Dressler (Serenity Point Counseling) brings her unique skills together as counselor and outreach services for those who struggle with the effects of substance use disorders. Tim Meliah (Catholic Charities) is one of our silent giants, a warm and compassionate man who reaches out to those struggling for help and connection. Nikki Sharp serves our community through Comprehensive Healthcare, and their belief that people can and do recover from mental illness and addictions by focusing on strengths and building resilience creates the platform for her work. Sarah Oslund is clinical psychologist and Team Lead, Outpatient Mental Health Services at our Veterans Hospital, and works with PTSD. Heather Rodriguez teaches in the MSW Program at Walla Walla University, bringing trauma-informed training into the next generation of social workers.  Each panelist offers stories of hope and help.

 Our last panelist, Kip Reese, a private counselor, perhaps epitomizes in his particular style, of helping a parent find safety and connection when she came to discover her patterns and barriers imprinted by negative experiences. A parent tells her story of how Kip’s patience and steadfastness in helping her develop new skill sets in working with her children, to build the toolbox of strategies for better communication, by modeling her own appropriate regulatory skills and coaching from positive intent.