California – Strength and resilience

By Mikala Bordain and Kereisha Harrell

We have been absolutely humbled by our time in California. From learning about harm reduction practices to medication-assisted therapy (MAT) groups, we are amazed by the strength and resiliency of the people we have interacted with. These people ranged from directors, doctors, nurses, patients, and other students, and each and every one has sparked something inside of us.

Today, we were invited to sit in multiple MAT meetings. These groups were based upon a patient’s recovery level, ranging from needing more intensive care to being more independent. For both groups we attended today, each and every person was so kind and thoughtful. They also expressed so much gratitude for the care and respect that they have received from those who helped them along their recovery journey. It was so inspiring to see such a close connection and mutual respect between allied health professionals and patients.

While there was so much we learned today about the different types of medications that aid in recovery, as students, we saw each other become increasingly passionate about what healthcare should be in our eyes. We talked about reducing stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders. We each had goals and plans forming in our minds to one day make a difference in a person’s life, one event at a time. We are so ready to bring back what we’ve learned and provide the upmost compassionate, understanding care that we can give. It is so beautiful to be able to watch others talk about their dreams, goals, and passions and one day, implement these in a place where we see so much pain and heartache surrounding addiction.

To each and every single person who we’ve talked, cried, and laughed with during this journey, we cannot express how much we’ve appreciated seeing how much you’ve poured your heart out to help others.

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