Harvesting Seeds of Wellness

Raymond Povijua, a member of Ohkay Owingeh residing in a tribal community in northern New Mexico, sought out the Opioid Response Network (ORN) for consultation and implementation support for an event he was interested in hosting. What transpired was an engaging community learning opportunity offering long lasting health and wellness strategies.

Raymond has experience managing a range of native programs and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Tribal Opioid Response grant funded initiatives. For this project he wanted to create an educational event focused on mental health and opioid use disorder awareness, provide space to ground his community in healing and an opportunity to have their voices heard. His intent was to center the event on harvest season. With guidance from ORN, Raymond developed a program based on SAMHSA’s Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Community members took each dimension and transformed them into “seeds of wellness.”

SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative supports embracing Eight Dimensions of Wellness—emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual—to achieve longevity and improved quality of life. The initiative aims to inspire communities. Its companion guide defines wellness and presents several ways communities can promote recovery from behavioral health disorders. With harvest season as the backdrop, community members broke into groups to think about each dimension, or seed, within their own local context. They discussed the strategies presented within SAMHSA’s guide and developed wellness boxes for each seed that everyone could take home as a lasting reminder.

ORN’s support was critical in helping realize the event. ORN’s Regional Coordinator for Technical Assistance, Benjamin Nguyen, LCSW, CPH, worked closely with Raymond and pulled in support from an interdisciplinary team of local ORN consultants including Joan Kandel, DO, FAAFP; Veronica Sanchez, DSW, LCSW, LICSW; Shelley Mann-Lev, MPH, SCPS; and Raquel Ramos. “There are not enough words to express the return of ORN and what the network has brought to our project,” said Raymond. “I started as the sole individual trying to figure out how to get to the next level, the next spot. By putting in a simple request and beginning a conversation with ORN we were able to expand the team and offer an exciting, impactful program. This event has also created momentum in the community which has helped to support other efforts.”

ORN enhances the efforts of others tackling issues related to substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery. If you or someone you know could use help, let us know your needs using the “Submit a Request” form.