In honor of SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, Workers Assistance Program has gotten several of its program directors together to share their thoughts on prevention, their programs, and how substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion are improving our workplaces, schools, and communities. Today, we focus on the Texas HIV Connection (THIVC) through the words of its director and longtime WAPer Brad Lindgren.
The Texas HIV Connection (THIVC), a division of Workers Assistance Program, is a dedicated team determined to help professionals gain the knowledge they need to serve a community affected by substance use/abuse and mental health related issues. A unique aspect to our training program is how we connect these issues to the risk of contracting HIV and other communicable diseases. THIVC has been a leading HIV education organization for over 25 years and began its educational services during the initial panic surrounding the epidemic.
The carefully curated content of our trainings directly affects how providers care for their clients in our state. THIVC has helped reduce the rate of infections by putting an impetus on the correlation between the disease, substance abuse, and mental health issues. Although we do not provide services directly to clients, it makes the long hours of developing curriculum and hitting the road training worth it when agencies say that our trainings have made them better, more understanding caregivers.
Our training staff’s strengths come from their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and service in the substance abuse, mental health and HIV/AIDS education fields. They specialize in providing workshops focusing on HIV disease, substance abuse, mental health, cultural understanding, sexual behaviors, and harm/risk reduction techniques that providers can use with their clients. Our training specialists also conduct trainings on a variety of counseling methods including Motivational Interviewing and Empowerment Counseling.
Along with our many trainings and speaking engagements, THIVC also puts on one of the only conferences of its kind in the nation. For almost 20 years, the Street Outreach and HEI Case Management Conference (formally know as the Street Outreach Workers Conference) has provided outreach workers and case managers from all over the state the opportunity to examine the major obstacles and trends in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in the company of their peers and contemporaries. Conference speakers, presenters, and roundtable leaders offer educational opportunities that showcase tools and techniques to more effectively help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS with a special emphasis in how substance use and mental health issues relate to this disease.
As the treatment landscape changes in this country, our mission remains to ensure our trainings and methods are up-to-date and effective. On average, THIVC trains over 1500 professionals each year and provides them with the newest statistics research and methods with the intent that we will use them to best serve our communities. A majority of the information we implement in our trainings is received through SAMSHA, and we are grateful for the wonderful work they do. The TIPS books and monthly publications are a great resource to us and the many other professionals we train.
If you would like to know more about the Texas HIV Connection, the trainings we offer, or our annual conference, please, feel free to call us at either 512-343-9595 or 877-287-1533. You can also visit our website hivconnection.org.