New Employee Orientation (NEO)

The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse has been contracted to recruit and select CARES to share their lived experience at 144 Department of Behavioral Health (DBHDD) New Employee Orientation (NEO) sessions at 4 state-operated psychiatric hospitals. In response to the Civil Rights Act for Institutionalized People (CRIPA) DBHDD has developed a curriculum for new employee orientations that includes an emphasis on recovery, person centered care, and treating the individuals in their care with respect and dignity. CARES are uniquely situated to speak and participate in these sessions providing invaluable lived experience and the ability to share an approach that meets individuals where they “are” and includes them in their own recovery process.

The NEOs are attended by a variety of employees such as those in direct care including Health Service Technicians, Nurses and Therapists, as well as those in support services such as Food Service, Administration and Maintenance. For many of them the CARES presentation will be their first exposure to individuals in long term recovery and the concept of “many paths”. Positive feedback from the NEO sessions indicates that the employees have appreciated and benefitted from CARES participation in the orientations, and that it has helped prepare themfor their upcoming duties in each unit of the hospital.

We know that each of you has a unique way of delivering the CARES message and when speaking at the New Employee Orientations we encourage you to speak in “your own voice”. However we also ask that you adhere to the following general presentation outline:

  • Name – brief Elevator Speech
  •  What helped in your recovery?
  • What got/ gets in the way of your recovery?
  • What providers did to help your recovery?
  • What services are provided by/for peers in your community?
  • Describe Individual Recovery Check-Ins & Recovery Groups
  • CARES have been participating in the New Employee Orientations for approximately 2 years.

Helpful and impactful language and phrases used by CARES at New Employee Orientations

  • There is hope, Change and Recovery is possible
  • Respect those in your care as individuals
  • Do not view people as their disease, diagnosis, disorder or dysfunction
  • Accept and meet people where they are
  • Person centered care, Individuals are experts in their condition
  • Everyone suffers from something sometime in their lives
  • Everyone can play an important part in someone’s recovery
  • A kind word or smile may have a great impact to an individual struggling in their recovery