Updated: May 26, 2022
The Jamestown Healing Clinic is all about just that: healing. From its social navigator and medications for opiate use disorder, primary care, dental, and behavioral health services to finer details like its Native American architecture and art, the Clinic will “[provide] sustained recovery for those struggling with addiction.” With the official opening of the Clinic just around the corner, it aims to fill a significant gap in the needs of the Olympic region.
This gap can feel daunting. Especially due to the ongoing opioid crisis (along with other substance use disorder challenges), there are simply not enough beds for people to get the help they need. Though improved from five years ago, just 1 in 2 adults on Medicaid in the Olympic region received the SUD treatment they needed, and even fewer (2 in 5) youth received needed treatment. In addition, there are only 8 male and 4 female residential withdrawal facility beds in the entire region, and they are all in Kitsap County (2020 Behavioral Health Report). And beyond these acute challenges, many who need treatment also often lack some of the supports and resources in their lives that provide the stability they need to continue their recovery.
The Clinic aims to change that. And although it is not a detox or inpatient facility (meaning that it does not have “beds”), it still plays a large role in treatment access. In the spirit of integrating indigenous practices with top-tier care, the Clinic’s leaders believe that larger community change comes from helping each individual holistically.
This belief draws its inspiration from a story (told below), deeply embedded in Jamestown S’Klallam culture, about a grandfather and his grandson fishing along a river.
The Story of Changing the Course of the River
A Grandfather took his Grandson fishing with a plan to teach him a life lesson. After completing their fishing, he asked if his Grandson wanted to see him change the course of the river.
Not believing this to be possible, the Grandson watched as his Grandfather reached out along the sandy bank of the river and removed a rock the size of his fist. Pretty soon a small stream from the river broke away from the fast-moving river and filled the hole where the rock had once been.
The Grandfather said, “You see, Grandson, there may be things that happen in your life that are not what you had hoped. But realize that if you make one small, positive change — you can change the entire course of your life or another person’s life.”
An excerpt from a traditional native story as told by Jamestown S’Klallam Storyteller Elaine Grinnell, adapted by Loni (Grinnell) Greninger.
The Clinic does not simply view a person as in recovery from a substance use disorder. Each patient is a whole person, with multifaceted and complex aspects to their wellbeing. The Clinic fulfills a significant need for both an Opiate Treatment Program with daily dosing of medications for opiate use disorder and wraparound services. From child watch services while parent(s) are in treatment and transportation to and from the clinic, to full primary care, dental services, behavioral health care. They even connect with a social services navigator in partnership with the City of Sequim. The clinic aims to not simply make one small, positive change in a person’s life, but to move several large stones to give them the holistic support they need to become healthy people, in turn contributing to a thriving Olympic community.
The services are not the only way the Clinic treats patients as whole people. Its native-inspired architecture, huge windows facing the mountains landscaping (including a peaceful retaining pond), and indigenous art also are designed to give patients a sense of tranquility, rest, and connection to the natural beauty around them.
Though there is tremendous need for more treatment options for substance use disorder in the Olympic region, there is also reason for hope. Just as the Jamestown Healing Clinic aims to heal each individual who passes through its new doors, moving stones to create new, healthy paths in their lives, it is also itself a stone in the region, moving to help our entire Olympic community thrive, just as Grandfather said.
If you are interested in learning more about when the Clinic will open, you can register for updates on its website at www.jamestownhealingclinic.org.