Our pal Alex from Boise State University reached out a couple months back asking to do her service-learning project with Speak Your Silence. Obviously, we responded with a calm and sophisticated, “OOOHHHHHH YEEAAAAHHHH!!!” And, so, she got to work!
Alex took some time to chat with Caity, one of the amazing people who serves as case managers at BPA Health, the company we’re partnered with to implement our counseling program nationwide.
Caity has worked on our accounts since 2015 and is one of the warm individuals who helps each counseling applicant through the process of getting into a counselor’s office. She shares some behind the scenes of the grantee process and her experience in being a powerful force in making Speak Your Silence’s counseling program so successful.
Alex: What is BPA Health’s role in its partnership with Speak Your Silence?
Caity: BPA Health partners with Speak Your Silence and helps manage the counseling program. We process incoming applications, send agreements to grantees, find a counselor the grantee would be able to see using their funding grant, and follow-up with grantees to ensure their experience with us as well as their counselor is satisfactory.
Alex: What is the process? What does it cover and include?
Caity: The first step is submitting an electronic counseling grant application at www.speakyoursilence.org/counseling. It’s completely confidential. We ask applicants to provide us with their demographic information along with their preference of counselor (male, female, or no preference), possible insurance coverage, and how much they’d be able to pay per session. There is also a field in the application where an applicant can tell us their story, but that is completely optional. Once a completed application is received, a case manager processes it to ensure the person applying for a counseling grant meets the eligibility requirements and when someone is found eligible, we send them an electronic agreement that outlines their rights and responsibilities as a grantee. As soon as we receive a signed agreement from a grantee, we send an internal request to our Provider Relations Department who reaches out to counselors that we’ve either a) worked with in the past or b) found via the BPA Health provider network to see if they will agree to contract with us to see a grantee. Once a counselor has agreed to contract with BPA Health, we notify the grantee of the counselor’s name and contact information so they can call the counselor directly to schedule their first appointment.
Alex: What is a rewarding or favorite aspect of your job in regards to Speak Your Silence?
Caity: I think one of the most rewarding parts of working with Speak Your Silence is the responses we get from grantees once they’re notified they qualify for a grant. So many people don’t think they’re worthy of help and almost sound like they’re ‘inconveniencing’ us just by applying, which is SO not the case! There’s still such a huge stigma regarding mental health and an even bigger stigma surrounding childhood sexual abuse, so when you combine the two, you hear some absolutely heartbreaking stories.
Alex: In your opinion is Speak Your Silence effective? Does what BPA Health contributes help?
Caity: I absolutely think Speak Your Silence is effective! One of the main reasons why is because I can see how many more people are hearing about SYS and reaching out for help. I’ve been involved with the program since October 2015 and have personally been a case manager for over 100 applicants, which doesn’t include cases our two other case managers have managed. That’s amazing! I can see how hard Matt and his team are working to spread the word and end this stigma and I think it’s absolutely incredible.
Alex: What does Speak Your Silence mean to you?
Caity: To me, Speak Your Silence reinforces that people matter. No matter where you come from, your background, or what happens in your life- everyone has a purpose and every life has meaning. The positive energy, ideals, and laughter that Matt spreads out into the world may seem small, but if everyone could have 1/10 of the attitude he has on a daily basis, the world will be such a happier and more welcoming place! Even though I have never been personally affected by childhood sexual abuse myself, just being invited to join Matt on this wonderful ride has opened my eyes tremendously and I feel like I’ve become a more compassionate person in general because of that. My hope for the future of Speak Your Silence is that no one will have to ask what the orange stitch means – they’ll already be “in know” and wearing it themselves. ☺
To apply to this counseling program, click here.
And to wear the zigzag stitch for yourself and be a voice, click here.