The Maniilaq Association’s Maniilaq Health Center (MHC) has provided no-cost outpatient behavioral health and other social services to residents of northwest Alaska for more than 30 years. Services are provided at the Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue, with some services such as assessments, referrals and one-on-one counseling available in other local villages through the organization’s Rural Human Services program. The Maniilaq Health Center is a state-of-the art medical facility and serves the Northwest Arctic Borough.
Treatment and Staff
After an assessment, those seeking substance abuse treatment can participate in Living in Balance, a treatment program with rolling admissions that meets in a two-hour group setting once a week for eight weeks. Living in Balance’s curriculum is based on SAMSHA materials, a study-course designed by a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The program also uses the Stages of Change model and can accommodate the needs and goals of individuals with co-occurring disorders.
MHC’s holistic approach includes counseling for family members of those in substance abuse treatment. Upon completion, participants and family members can receive continuing aftercare counseling as well as clinical and community support through the Recovery Maintenance program, which meets once a week for an hour. Neither Living in Balance nor Recovery Maintenance are 12-step affiliated.
Detox is not available at MHC. Those in need are referred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital in Fairbanks, Alaska.
In conjunction with the Alaska court system, MHC also provides the Maniilaq Alcohol Safety Action Program (MASAP) for DUI and other alcohol-related misdemeanor offenses. Participants complete a correspondence course based on SAMSHA materials. For those younger than 21, the Juvenile Alcohol Safety Action Program (JSAP) offers screening, assessments, SAMSHA educational classes and outpatient services for a minor consuming alcohol conviction.
Rural human services outreach is provided by the Community Health Aide/Practitioner program (CHAP) operating in eleven remote village clinics. Most clinics have a full time staff of two to four health aides. The clinics share information with MHC in Kotzebue and teleconferencing is available for doctor consultations.
MHC’s staff is made up of doctors specializing in substance abuse treatment, psychologists, social workers, licensed substance abuse counselors, family counselors and case managers working at a staff-to-client ratio of one-to-five. Counselors receive continuing clinical education through a program in conjunction with Chukchi University in Kotzebue.
MHC offers the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (MATVR) Program to help tribal members and other individuals with disabilities obtain gainful employment. Project Life monitors youth suicide prevention.
Though its location is remote, Maniilaq Health Center is a valuable outpatient substance abuse and behavioral health resource in the Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska. The facility offers comprehensive services for those suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders, all at no cost to those who qualify.
Maniilaq Health Center
436 5th Ave
Kotzebue, AK 99752
Maniilaq Health Center Cost: Free to tribal members (30 days). Contact the Maniilaq Health Center by phone at (800) 431-3321. Find Maniilaq Health Center on Facebook
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Photo courtesy of BlessBoenish