Brand Story - Bridgeway Recovery Services changes the conversation about treatment.
With a growing need for both addiction treatment and mental health support Bridgeway is increasing its presence in Salem and has a plan to increase access to treatment.
Bridgeway Recovery founder and CEO Tim Murphy has been working in the field of addiction recovery and mental health treatment for 35 years. In 2008, he was in a position to open his own treatment center. It gave him the opportunity to develop a new way of providing healthcare that was in line with his personal philosophy of trauma informed care. Bridgeway Recovery Services has grown and is about to move from various satellite offices to one main campus, Bridgeway Plaza, in downtown Salem as Phase One of their Recovery Plan.
Two years ago, Murphy purchased an 18,000-square-foot building that will become the base for Bridgeway Plaza. The Plaza will be the hub of Bridgeway’s outpatient treatment services for problem gambling ,chemical dependency and mental health support. They also bought the property next door on which a new detox center and primary care clinic will be constructed which will be Phase Two of their Recovery Plan.
Currently, Bridgeway operates various clinics in the community that are all at different locations. The new building, Bridgeway Plaza, accomplishes many things. It brings outpatient treatment staff onto one campus and It provides room for expanded services. But more importantly, it puts the center in the middle of downtown, in plain sight.
“I spent many years personally as a provider and therapist working in different systems,” says Murphy. “I was able to take the best parts of the systems I worked in and kind of weave them together to create the best system for treating mental illness and for chemical dependency. I’ve also made it a mission of mine to address the stigma that inhibits people’s ability to seek treatment for themselves.”
“We will no longer be on the fringe of town,” says Murphy. “We’ll be right downtown so people can see it, and that is partly in hopes of reducing the stigma associated with going to treatment. I want going to an addiction treatment or mental health treatment appointment to be as ordinary as going to the dentist.”
By putting clinics on the edges of town, Murphy says the industry has contributed to stigma that seeking treatment should be a secret. Bridgeway staff feel strongly that no longer should people feel like they need to park behind the building so no one sees them enter a treatment facility or recognizes their car. Murphy wants to change the dialogue to make it clear that there’s nothing wrong with people who seek treatment, it’s that they are dealing with something that happened to them in the course of their life.
Twenty-eight of Murphy’s 35 years of experience have been in Oregon,. Bridgeway Recovery Services started out small, with a $500,000 loan and about 40 employees, growing to 140 employees pre-covid, and currently at 115. Bridgeway is the largest provider of mental health and chemical dependencies services in the mid-Willamette Valley. With the opening of Bridgeway Plaza Bridgeway will own five local properties and will be completely debt free.
Another important offering at Bridgeway is the ability to provide on-site expanded primary care. This is important because Bridgeway realized that many of the people they were seeing were not treating some of their basic health problems out of a reluctance to visit other doctors.
“Many people seeking treatment for addiction may have strained their relationships with their primary care providers and are reluctant to go back, or, they may not want to retell their story each time they seek care,” he says. “For our clients, Bridgeway is a safe place to address your primary medical needs.”
Bridgeway has also expanded outpatient services in both individual and group meetings for folks with chemical dependency and for folks with symptoms of mental illness and they have expanded co-occurring services, which are designed for people who are struggling with symptoms of both.
One important collaborator of Murphy’s is a Philadelphia-based psychiatrist named Sandra Bloom. who wrote a book called Creating Sanctuary, about providing centers of excellent care for people struggling with symptoms of mental illness. Bloom became a mentor and friend to Murphy and has helped develop this understanding of the importance of including the voice of the client/patient in the services that are provided. “Sandy taught me that it is, “The relationship that heals,” says Murphy, “and we believe in building respectful and trusting relationships between those providing services and those that are seeking services. It’s become our mantra.”
An 8-bed residential home for women is named after Dr. Bloom. Although it and the men’s home have been closed due to COVID, they hope to reopen them soon. In addition, Bridgeway owns a 16-unit apartment complex called New Options for people reentering society from periods of incarceration. Bridgeway is also the primary provider of counselors and mentors in Marion County for mental health court, drug court, family court for juveniles, and for veterans court. Their programs help participants manage their life and get their legal pieces in order, get treatment, and then hopefully graduate from those programs.
Bridgeway places less importance on relapse rate and instead looks at the measures by which their clients’ lives improve. That means reducing harm by using less substances, even if the amount of substance use is not completely zero. It looks at increasing overall healthy lifestyles, developing sober relationships, and finding stable housing.
“Are you managing your life? Are you getting to work? Are you taking care of your children? Are you happy?” says Murphy. “We’re taking a trauma-informed care approach by understanding the underlying factors that contributed to addiction, so we see much more success. We address the issues of why they’re using in the first place, and that almost always comes down to some kind of trauma that happened in the course of their life. We’re watching people transition in our own community, finding jobs, getting places to live, getting their children back from state care or from other family members, we’re seeing families reunited. It’s a wonderful thing.”
Bridgeway Plaza, which is Phase One of Bridgeway’s Recovery Plan, will open this April and the planning for Phase Two has already begun and should be in development in 2023
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