FARNUM: Saving Lives with Comprehensive Treatment and Recovery Services

Helping individuals and families find their way to a life free of alcohol and other drugs through comprehensive treatment and recovery services open to all.”

Located in Manchester and Franklin, New Hampshire, Farnum is a well-established rehabilitation center that offers recovery services for alcohol and other drugs. Their recovery services provide clients with a unique approach to treatment. Farnum is the first treatment center in the Northeast to incorporate Health Realization and The Three Principals into its programming.

The center was established in Manchester in 1981 under the leadership of Eliot Priest, a retired executive from Public Service of New Hampshire and a Board Member at Catholic Medical Center.

New Hampshire has made national news on the topic of addiction and Manchester has been identified as the center of the state’s epidemic. Farnum added services, increased client capacity, and expanded its locations in efforts to aid their community at large. In 2018 alone, Farnum provided $2,907,955 in free and subsidized services to NH residents who were in need of treatment but couldn’t afford it. Farnum has made tremendous strides in changing these statistics and misconceptions surrounding addiction in NH.

What makes it Different?

Health realization and the Three Principles are what make Farnum different. Its internal policy dictates that no client will be discharged homeless. “We are invested in our clients. We offer a unique approach to treatment through Health Realization that focuses on the mental aspect of addiction,” delivers Wilkie. The center practices what it preaches; employees are encouraged to nurture their own innate health and resilience and employees attend lectures on a monthly basis. This way, Farnum takes care of its employees as well as clients and assist people understand about the human work experience.

Farnum’s Philosophy

Let’s understand first that- What is Health Realization or The Three Principles?

Farnum integrates the Three Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness, which is also termed as the ‘Health Realization Program’ to assist clients in accessing a healthier perspective on life, allowing them to leave their past behind.

Farnum’s Health Realization approach is based on the 3 Principles philosophy founded by Sydney Banks. The center started implementing this approach five years ago by calling the authors from books it was using on the 3 Principles and having them come in to teach the staff this approach. This is a person-centered approach and it allows people to see that outside events do not create their feelings; it is how they think about the events that create the feeling.

Health Realization explains that – Individuals possess a natural state of well-being or innate health that will spontaneously emerge when circular thinking subsides. To elaborate this a bit, the center gives an example- ‘Have you ever driven in the car and out of nowhere, you think of a solution to a problem that’s bothered you all day? That’s your innate wisdom at work! While driving you had a quiet mind, a new thought was available, that led you come up with the solution.’

Farnum’s Health Realization approach has been a roaring success that shines through the ceaseless progress of their clients gaining a fresh perspective on life, free from addiction. Clients begin their path to recovery at Farnum and learn to access their innate wisdom to help make decisions that come from their innate health instead from the external world.

About the Compassionate and Dedicated Leader

Dr. Cheryl Wilkie is the COO of Farnum who has been in a longtime recovery from alcohol and drugs and is the essence of the entire Farnum operation. Cheryl has supported a number of clients who come to Farnum in search of recover, which allows her to have compassion for those who are trying to find their innate health.  “In my early recovery, I heard people in the meetings talking about their lives and mine was the same. There was a great deal of violence and a lot of craziness happening when I was using drugs and alcohol and they were sober and sane. So it gave me hope that if they could do it, maybe I could, too”, expressed Wilkie.

That was the turning point of her life.  Hereafter, Wilkie found a path towards recovery and happiness. She geared her experience and dedicated her life towards working with others who wanted to discover the inner peace within them without the company of drugs and alcohol. Her deep and broad personal knowledge of recovery, a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology and a Masters in Human Service Administration, allowed Wilkie to use her education, love and compassion for people to provide services over the years and expand to a very successful program.

Wilkie has worked in the treatment and recovery domain for nearly three decades, providing direction, help and solutions to countless people throughout the country.  She is a fierce and dedicated advocate for treatment and works every day to shatter the stigma around addiction.  She works closely with a variety of other community service agencies such as Families In Transition and the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester. Besides, she also works meticulously with the state, municipal and non-profit health services agencies around the state to ensure clients have access to any and all relevant treatment.

The Journey of Farnum

It all started when Wilkie was in a severe trauma since she was homeless and had lost everything, including her three-year-old twins. Then, in 1986, she decided to attend a treatment program located in a hospital setting; for which she considers herself very fortunate. When she attended the treatment center, the staff treated her with the utmost dignity and respect which made her sail through the traumatic phase.

While she was asked to take on the position at the Farnum Center, Wilkie wanted to create the same experience through a safe and dignified treatment program, which she had experienced from the treatment center she attended. When she took the position, Farnum had 32 beds and no medical detox existed in the State of NH. She watched clients suffer from withdrawal and no hospitals were willing to take those withdrawing from alcohol and drugs, except there were severe medical conditions. This situation made her realize that Farnum would have to create a safe medical facility for those in NH who wanted to get well.

Farnum, then, succeeded in opening the first medical detox in NH and from there, it expanded to 140 beds, with every level of care including Intensive Outpatient, Partial Hospitalization, a Suboxone Clinic and meetings for families to come together to give each other support.

Assorted Services under One Roof

To respond to the challenges of the nation’s opioid crisis, Farnum has dramatically expanded its services and treatment available to families throughout New England. The center offers a full range of services to its clients that embrace Detoxification, Inpatient, Partial Hospitalization Programs, Medication Assisted Treatments, Intensive Outpatient, Outpatient, Family Services, Stabilization Units, and Transitional Living.  Recognizing the depth of the grips of this disease, Farnum also provides programs designed to support families and loved ones to ensure all those involved are getting the help they require.

Open Access- It is a walk-in service where clients are assessed by a skilled clinician to determine their program placement. Once the assessment is complete, the recommendation for placement in the appropriate level of care is discussed with the client and together they form a plan. The assessment consultations are on a first come, first serve basis with limited availability.

Medical Detoxification Unit– This unit serves individuals who are of age18 and older seeking help to safely and medically stop using alcohol and other drugs. The average length of the stay is around six days.  Once screened and accepted, a specific medical treatment plan is developed as per the established protocols. Then, each protocol calls for a certain medication to help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal.

The center has a strong relationship with CMC (Catholic Medical Center) which handles the client’s physical issues not generated by the withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) – It is a level of care offered for clients who require more support than intensive outpatient but do not meet criteria for inpatient services. By engaging in PHP, clients can continue maintaining their outside responsibilities while having the support of professionals and peers five days a week.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) – These services are for those people with opiate use disorders. Clinic participants are required to meet regularly with a medical doctor or nurse practitioner who specializes in addiction medicine and is specifically trained in the use of Suboxone and other MATs such as Vivitrol.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) – This provides clients who do not require a residential or PHP level of care, the opportunity to receive intensive treatment services. These programs fulfill their daily responsibilities such as parenting, working, or pursuing educational goals. In the first phase of IOP treatment, clients participate in the educational programs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for three hours each day, over the course of approximately one month.  The program consists of group health realization education, group therapy individual counseling, friend/family education, aftercare planning and, case management.

Transitional Living– The approach provides each client with an individualized care plan and the opportunity to take a step forward in building a sober network for them. The length of stay can range from 1-12 months depending on the client and their needs. TL residents can leave for work during the day and progressively reintegrate into the community. 

While living in the house, the center provides its clients with groceries, guidance on resume building, interview skills for employment, personal budget strategies and more. The TL facility is within walking distance to various recovery resources, employment opportunities, and recreational activities.

The Stabilization Unit– It is a 16-bed clinically-licensed short-term residential treatment program.

Outpatient Services– These services are available to the clients who are transitioning from a higher level of care, or to those who need brief services for a specific purpose. These purposes include license restoration, court-ordered LADC evaluations, or the solution of personal issues.

Inpatient Residential Services– With these services, clients learn about their own innate capacity for health, insight, and happiness during their stay.

Throughout the day, residential clients participate in the ‘Health Realization’ and ‘Three Principal’ focused groups counseling and other recovery programs & activities. The inpatient facilities provide clients with three nutritious meals a day, prepared by the in-house team of chefs. When its clients aren’t in the recovery programs, they enjoy socializing, meditating, gardening, participating in recreational sports, and other fun and productive activities during their free time.

Elevating its Success Ratio

Farnum center takes pride in reporting that through the increased access and efficiencies, the outpatient services department could increase the assessments provided to the new clients by 13%, over 2,300 provided in 2018. Increasing the capacity with which Farnum serves individuals in need in New Hampshire was the main focus amid 2013 and 2018. In these years, inpatient bed capacity grew from 32 to 140. Two free-standing residential programs, Ray House and Webster Place were renovated, clinically licensed and staffed. Both of these programs served approximately 1,400 individuals respectively.

Farnum Center operates the only free-standing medical detox in the state of New Hampshire. This 27 bed-unit served 1,011 individuals in 2018, providing dignified, lifesaving support to those starting the journey of recovery that must be monitored during the acute withdrawal period. “Withdrawal from certain substances, including alcohol, can be lethal. We consider each admission into the Medical Detoxification unit a success,” asserted Wilkie.

A Glimpse of Farnum’s Ethical Excellence

One such example that Farnum considers for ethical excellence is that of its ‘Stabilization Unit’.

A year ago, the city of Manchester, NH was lacking a treatment facility that would help keep the popular Safe Station program alive. Safe Station is a program, whereby, anyone in need of help can walk into a Manchester fire station seeking help from substance misuse.  Firefighters will offer a quick, non-judgemental assessment, within their scope, and then send the individual to receive treatment either at a hospital or other treatment facility. With Cheryl’s guidance and the dedication of Christine Weber and many other staff members, Farnum Center agreed to receive the recipients of Safe Station’s care because it was the right thing to do.  Farnum Center had space, staffing, and desire to help those in need.

Farnum’s Stabilization Unit is registered as a residential facility, meaning that medical staff is not required.  The clients can enter the facility 24/7 and have a warm, safe place to stay while they can wait for an assessment for care.  “These clients are typically on the unit for a short amount of time.  However, after seeing how sick these people were, it became clear that the ethically right thing to do would be to provide them with medical care and comfort while they start their recovery.  Many of these clients do not have insurance so, at a considerable cost to Farnum Center, I and my team invested in medical staffing because ethically, this is what was needed.  Sometimes, putting people ahead of profits is necessary,” stated Wilkie.

Future Prospect

Using its unique Health Realization approach, Farnum helps people realize their own inner health by considering that every human being has a healthy internal core that is fully accessible to them. It shows its clients that everyone is innately resilient and has the ability to bounce back and overcome the adversity.

Upon asking her about the future plans, Wilkie asserted, “We will work to expand access to care, through partnerships with other non-profit providers, hospitals, clinics and the state of New Hampshire. Our work establishes a balance between those in need who seek care through Medicaid, along with those who have health care coverage and come to us through different avenues. We offer real help, right now.”

Farnum has worked closely with the area of health insurance companies to create a seamless system of care for those with insurance coverage.

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