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Western Ky. mental health group to open sober living home for pregnant women, new mothers

A pregnant woman in a sweater forming a heart with her hands on her belly. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Four Rivers Behavioral Health is launching a substance use recovery program geared toward pregnant women and new mothers.

A new sober living home in Paducah will soon offer sanctuary to new and expectant mothers seeking to raise their children in a safe, supportive environment.

Lily’s House is a residential program – run by Four Rivers Behavioral Health – designed to provide shelter and support services for pregnant women and new mothers in the Paducah area who have recently completed a substance use disorder treatment program.

The facility will provide housing and rehabilitation services for up to six women who are either pregnant or one-year postpartum, expanding the sober living programs already offered by the western Kentucky organization.

Thelma Hunter, the vice president of clinical services for Four Rivers Behavioral Health, had noticed that there was a significant gap in services offered to pregnant and parenting women dealing with substance use disorders. She hopes Lily’s House can bridge that gap.

“They are facing so many barriers to begin with,” Hunter said. “This just offers them a chance to be successful.”

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have shown that pregnant women and new mothers are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to communities that exhibit high rates of substance use disorders. CDC data shows that the use of opioids – both legally prescribed and illegally obtained – during and after pregnancy more than quadrupled from 1999 to 2014.

This new program aims to combat a multitude of issues faced by affected mothers and their babies – including Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a common and often deadly condition found in babies born to mothers with substance use disorders.

The program will work to overcome any obstacles faced by women seeking to participate, such as access to transportation and basic financial support. They will also have access to other resources – including the group’s Turning Point Recovery Community Center, which offers access to numerous technological resources, parent support groups and more.

Lily’s House will also offer a multitude of children’s programs, such as children’s case management, early education initiatives and specialized therapy programs for infants and toddlers.

In order to qualify for the services, applicants must have a record of completion for some form of substance use treatment program and express a desire to remain substance-free throughout and beyond their pregnancy.

Residents will also have access to peer-support services overseen by an on-site specialist who will work with residents in their mission for sobriety, and in their transition to caring for their newborn.

Hunter thinks peer support has become a crucial part of both mental health and substance abuse treatment over the years because it allows for interactions with individuals that will be able to empathize and connect with them.

“Being in an environment with other women who are all working towards the same goal of being substance free creates an immediate support system that is often lacking for people in recovery,” she said.

Renovations to the facility – a former group home operated by Four Rivers Behavioral Health – began in late summer and are expected to be completed by December. A significant portion of this renovation work was done by the residents of the organization’s CenterPoint Recovery Center for Men, a residential service program working to combat substance use disorders.

CenterPoint Recovery site administrator Max Grantham said having residents with the program aid in the construction of Lily’s House underscores the project’s importance.

“One of the core values that we teach at CenterPoint is that helping others in recovery helps you

stay in recovery,” Grantham said. “Working so hard to get Lily’s House ready for residents has given our guys a concrete example of what ‘giving back’ looks like.”

Lily’s House is currently accepting donations of baby items, maternity clothes and more. They also plan to host an open house in December, as well as a community baby shower.

Francis is a junior at Murray State University majoring sociology. They enjoy writing, music and video games.
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