Meet Our New Staff!

The Up Center is so excited to introduce two of our recent hires, Samantha Brogren and Heather Arnett! Sam and Heather are based in our Outpatient department and have begun providing much-needed substance use disorder services for our community.

As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage our country, we’re proud to have these ladies on staff to help meet an important need. Read on to learn more about them!

 

Samantha Brogren: Peer Recovery Specialist

Tell us about your role at The Up Center.

My role as Peer Recovery Specialist at The Up Center is to offer my lived experience in efforts to assist others on their road to recovery. I connect peers to resources and services in the community, group therapy, and offer hand in hand support. Living with a substance use disorder and mental illness is a daily challenge but through recovery, I believe that people can accomplish any task, goal, or dream!

 

What drove you to a career in substance use/mental health treatment?

As an addict in recovery myself, I have struggled with substance use, and I understand the hardships and traumas faced by our clients. I have also been diagnosed with anxiety disorders, severe depressive disorder, PTSD, and dissociative disorder, and I can relate to effects of mental health challenges on daily life as well. After struggling for years, feeling alone, and feeling like I had no value, I once felt I had no one in my life who could understand how I felt or offer any form of solace to me. My Peer Recovery Specialist career gives me the opportunity to assist others on their road to recovery and to find their solace. I want to be a beacon of hope to those who feel hope is falling away.

 

What is one thing that anyone in our community can do to support those beginning their journey to recovery?

I think that love and support are the best things you can offer someone who is starting their road to recovery. It’s difficult to relate or understand how they feel if you haven’t been through it yourself, but it’s so important to just support them along their journey and remind them of your love. There are also group therapy options for those who love someone who is an addict and/or diagnosed with mental illness to better understand what they are experiencing and support them along the way.

 

Outside of The Up Center, what does your life look like?

Outside of The Up Center, I enjoy family time with my three babies and my significant other. Whether paddle-boarding at the beach or seeing the latest movie in theaters, we’re always having fun and enjoying each other’s company. I also maintain my own self-care through meditation, group meetings in my community, and relaxation. I love a great concert, but I’m also very fond of a great night home in sweatpants accompanied with a good book in bed. I find the simple things in life bring me peace and I cherish every minute I have with my recovery!

 

Heather Arnett, LPC, CSAC: Lead Outpatient Clinician

Tell us about your role at The Up Center.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, I provide services to clients seeking treatment for mental health and substance use issues.  I serve as Lead Outpatient Clinician for The Up Center in Suffolk and provide services one morning each week at the Western Tidewater Free Clinic.  I have enjoyed teaming with Samantha to increase community awareness of The Up Center programs, including our new Substance Use Recovery Group.

 

What drove you to a career in substance use/mental health treatment?

In my work as a school counselor I realized that mental health and substance use issues are everywhere.  We can hide them, normalize them, and minimize them, but if left untreated they can hijack the lives of you and your family.  It can be scary, confusing, and traumatizing for everyone involved.  No wonder people struggle with hope in recovery!  Getting my education in mental health and addiction was a turning point for me.  It shifted my thinking and gave me hope.  My hope continues to grow as I witness the restoration of lives and families in recovery.  It is such a privilege to be part of the process.

 

What is one thing that anyone in our community can do to support those beginning their journey to recovery?

Just one?! Here are a few!

  • Don’t give up.
  • Be respectful and help fight stigma.
  • Learn more about mental health and addiction.
  • Be proactive (not reactive).
  • Stay positive and encouraging.
  • Remember that positive changes in attitude and behavior are powerful indicators of progress.

 

Outside of The Up Center, what does your life look like? 

I enjoy spending time with my family, including Lucy, my yellow Labrador.  Lucy loves to swim, so trips to the beach and lake are our favorites.  Much of my family lives out-of-state, so traveling to visit loved ones is another favorite “hobby.”

 

 

To inquire about Outpatient and Substance Use Disorder Services 0r schedule an appointment, please contact our Intake Coordinator, Makayla Farless: makayla.farless@theupcenter.org or 757-965-8622.

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