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The Haven at College to open outpatient center at Miami

The Haven at College, a national provider of on-campus addiction treatment and recovery support services, is opening an outpatient center at Miami this month. The center, which will be located at the Interfaith Center on Campus Avenue, is set to open its doors September 15.

The Haven is a national organization aimed at creating a safe and supportive recovery community for college students. It currently operates at five universities and was approached by Miami last October after the treatment and recovery work group of Miami's Alcohol Coordinating Committee determined Miami needed to offer better recovery services on campus.

"We want all of our students to be successful and to be able to work their way through school and graduate," dean of students, Mike Curme, said. " We want them to go out and have a positive impact in the world. It's unfortunate when we lose students who have to leave campus and leave town in search of these types of support services."

The Haven began by conducting a community mapping of Oxford and Miami, talking with students, faculty and community members to get a sense of the drinking culture, the drug culture and the recovery culture. They discovered that students struggling with substance abuse issues often have to leave in order to receive help.

"They're not addressing it before they're getting in trouble and going to OESCR, or they're failing out of school or not feeling like they can abstain from drinking and stay at Miami," east coast director of The Haven, Aly Reis, said. "We heard a lot about the Miami party scene and how that's a big part of the culture and how if a student doesn't partake in that, sometimes they will feel out of place."

Reis explained that The Haven's goal at Miami will be twofold. They will be focused on providing on-campus treatment services to students while also working to reduce the stigma for students who have issues with substance abuse and need to seek help.

"A lot of the students that participate in The Haven programs are feeling very empowered to talk about their experience," Reis said. "It doesn't mean you're a bad person or you're weak or you have some sort of moral failing. When it's a student in your math class saying, 'I'm a person with a substance abuse disorder,' it's a lot harder to stigmatize them. When you can see this is someone in your community you care about, it's a lot closer to home, and it's more difficult to other that person or that experience."

The outpatient center will offer different levels of care delivered by licensed clinicians, varying by the services offered and the number of hours spent there per week. Most programs involve a combination of case management and group therapy, though individual therapy will also be available.

The center will also offer a "Mentoring and Monitoring" harm reduction program. While most of the care is abstinence-based, this program will address the population of students who might just be starting to experience consequences for the first time and are not yet ready to be abstinent yet. They will be assigned a student mentor and will have the opportunity to explore their relationship to substances in a safe and supportive environment.

In addition, The Haven will host a free, anonymous, all-recovery 12-step program, as well as a variety of sober social programming open to the entire student population.

"It's so much easier to stay sober on a college campus if you feel like you're having fun with other people who are doing the same thing," Reis said. "We're committed to providing options that are totally student-driven."

While the social programming and 12-step program will be free of charge, students will need insurance for the clinical care. The Haven is in-network with Aetna student health and will take other insurance on an out-of-network basis. Additionally, they are working to create a scholarship fund for students who require services but cannot afford them.

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"Our mission is to make sure no student will ever be turned away because of cost," Reis said. "Even if the small co-pay from using insurance is not affordable, we'll make sure there is a scholarship fund available to them."

Curme explained that bringing The Haven to campus is part of the school's mission to embark on a much broader, holistic campaign to support Miami student health.

"Student Counseling Services, Student Health Services and our wellness office will be working much more collaboratively on issues like this, supporting students that are struggling with issues of misuse," he said.