Valley Behavioral HealthValley Behavioral Health

by Julia Hood, Ph.D., BCBA, NCSP

This September, Valley Behavioral Health is celebrating the 29th annual National Recovery Month to help celebrate those who have achieved recovery through mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment. It is so important to recognize the meaningful work that people have done to be where they are in their recovery. This month gives many people a platform to share their stories with others, to hopefully inspire others to seek treatment for their addiction or take steps to avoid addiction. Recovery month also offers an opportunity to reiterate the vital importance of prevention services within our communities.

Substance use disorder can affect anyone. It does not discriminate across race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, and/or level of education. Most everyone knows someone who has had a substance use disorder. They have seen the impact on their lives and the lives of their family and loved ones.   Those struggling with addiction often lose jobs, homes, families, and relationships as their addiction develops.

Hearing stories of those in recovery is also helpful in educating the community about what led them to use. Often people develop very negative opinions about people who are addicted to substances and make assumptions about circumstances which may have contributed to developing a substance use disorder or their inability to control their addiction.

Every year, we have a graduation ceremony for two of our residential programs and have graduates share their stories. It is always so inspiring and moving; however, during these speeches, you often hear stories of abuse, mistreatment by a partner, childhood trauma, assault, etc. These experiences contributed to the individuals’ initial use of substances, manifestation of mental health conditions, and development of a substance use disorder that impacts their life so negatively.

Unfortunately, many who struggle with substance use and/or mental health issues are too embarrassed to seek the treatment they need. There is a cultural stigma surrounding treatment and it keeps many people from getting help. It is imperative that we help remove the stigma of seeking mental health or substance use disorder treatment so our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, neighbors, and co-workers all feel more comfortable about getting the help they need.

At Valley Behavioral Health, we offer a variety of therapeutic services to address each individual client’s substance use and/or mental health needs. We have clinics throughout Salt Lake, Summit, and Tooele Counties. We also provide many different levels of support, based on our clients’ needs. All clients receive individualized, evidence-based, client-centered care at our clinics. Our therapists address each client’s emotional health which is essential for improving each client’s overall health and well-being.

Julia Hood, Ph.D., BCBA, NCSP
About Julia Hood, Ph.D., BCBA, NCSP
Julia Hood completed her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Westminster College and her Master's and Doctorate degrees in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah. After completing her Doctorate, she worked as a psychologist in Granite School District. She joined Valley Behavioral Health in 2014 as the Director of the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning. In 2017, she expanded her role as the Senior Director of Clinical Services. She further expanded her role in May 2018 as the Chief Clinical Officer and will work in this role to ensure the highest quality of clinical care for our clients and support the clinical teams across the company.