Our Framework for Doing No Harm: Three Legs of the Stool - Ashland County MHRB

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Our Framework for Doing No Harm: Three Legs of the Stool

Our Framework for Doing No Harm: Three Legs of the Stool
April 09, 2019

One of our major tenants is to support and promote attitudes and services for mental health and addiction recovery that do no harm. This phrase is simple and is borrowed from the Hippocratic Oath, pledged by every physician practicing the art and science of medicine and healing.

We call our framework for providing services to our community of Ashland County “Three Legs of the Stool.”  The three legs represent three core values and principles: trauma-informed care, resilience & recovery, and medication optimization.

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma can happen to anyone at any stage of life, and traumatic events occur in many forms. Research shows that unacknowledged and untreated trauma contributes to future problems; there’s a greater chance that person will experience health problems, mental and emotional suffering, addiction, and other social problems. Here are a few ways to operate within a trauma-informed care mentality:

  • Insist upon the safety of all ages in our community, from infants to elders
  • Encourage adults and older adults to acknowledge, talk about, and recover from their own childhood experiences of trauma as a way to prevent trauma from being passed to the next generation
  • Consider that conventional health problems (such as smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and others) are often solutions to trauma chosen by individuals as a way to cope with adverse (traumatic) experiences
  • Avoid the use of diagnostic labels and other labels that dehumanize people
  • Change the question “What’s wrong with you/me/them?” to “What happened to you/me/them?”

Resilience & Recovery

Resilience is the ability to overcome serious hardship, and it’s an ability that all people can develop at any stage of life. To promote resilience in our community, we need to work together to ensure that all individuals have access to the following:

  • At least one safe, stable, committed, and trusting relationship with another person
  • At least one activity that gives one’s life a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Regular physical activity and exercise
  • Stress-reducing practices and programs
  • Opportunities to improve verbal communication in an effort to constructively express themselves and maintain healthy relationships

Recovery is the ability to develop and/or return to a state of personal stability, where one reclaims a sense of self and self-determination as an independent person despite a serious hardship. Recovery is always possible, and it goes hand-in-hand with resilience. To promote recovery in our community, we use The Recovery Model:

  • Strengths-based, not illness-based
  • The individual is an active participant in treatment
  • Professionals and other people don’t make decisions for the person
  • Recovery encompasses a person’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community

Medication Optimization

Medication optimization is a philosophy for prescription drug use that takes a cautious approach to medication for mental health and addiction challenges. The goal of medication optimization is to improve and maximize the self-determination, functioning, and quality and meaning of life of people who experience these challenges. Here are a few of its principles:

  • Try other interventions, namely recovery-based psychosocial supports and services
  • Use a minimal dose; start low and work up
  • Use a minimum number of medications at the same time
  • Provide complete, accurate, and truthful information about the effects and side effects of all medications

We are committed to the Three Legs of the Stool because we want our community to help you, your loved ones, your neighbors, and your coworkers to live a full life. To learn more about the three legs and the “why’s” behind them, visit this page or download our brand new publication called “Our Human Community.”

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Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County

1605 CR 1095, Ashland, OH 44805
Office: (419) 281-3139
Fax: (419) 281-4988
Crisis : (419) 289-6111

Email:  ashmhrb@ashlandmhrb.org


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