Recover Health Resources of St. Cloud has been serving area residents of the Somali and Oromo communities since opening in December.
Among the staff members are St. Cloud State University students and alumni.
Emmanuel Oppong ’13 and Oluwatoyin Adetunji ’13 ’14 are doctoral supervisors at the St. Cloud clinic. Both are graduates of the Community Counseling and Chemical Dependency Certificate programs.
Farhiyo Idifle ’13 is pursuing her masters in social work and Naima Hussein is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in community psychology and will persue a master’s in clinical mental health counseling. They are interning at the St. Cloud clinic.
Shu chun Lee ’13, a marriage and family therapy graduate, is interning at the St. Anthony Clinic.
The five are participants in a Mental Health Cultural Competency Staffing Project grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to train Somali- and Oromo-speaking practitioners to provide Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) as well as outpatient mental health services.
Manijeh Daneshpour, St. Cloud State professor of marriage and family therapy, sought the grant for Recover Health Resources, which she worked with Recover Health owner Asad Mohammed to start.
Daneshpour’s interest in refugee populations began more than two decades ago when she moved to Minnesota and learned about the Hmong population and their challenges in transitioning to life in Minnesota. Her focus on the Somali and Oromo communities began more than a decade ago when members from the community would come to her private practice clinic in Maple Grove.
She began by providing individuals in counseling, then got a request from the Somali and Oromo communities requesting group services for older adults.
After starting the sessions, she learned what they really needed was someone who could help them with basic necessities before they could concentrate on their emotional pain, Daneshpour said.
That is how the Recover Health in St. Anthony came to be in October 2013. The St. Cloud clinic is an expansion of the St. Anthony Clinic.
Once the St. Anthony clinic was opened, and serving Somali and Oromo clients, the clinic also began providing rehabilitative services through the state.
Somali practitioners taught clients how to cook, read their mail, go to the bank, when to take their medications and other skills necessary for life in the United States.
The grant is helping the clinic to train Somali and Oromo speaking practitioners to serve these populations.
Niloufer Merchant, St. Cloud State professor of community psychology, is providing trauma training to the grant participants and agency staff.
Each grant participant is taking 20 hours of trauma training to know how to work with people who have trauma-based symptoms.
Many people in the Somali and Oromo communities witnessed trauma in their home countries or experienced it in refugee camps before coming to the United States.
Coming to the United States as a refugee is an added level of trauma because many of these people have left family members behind or lost family while living in a refugee camp or in war, Merchant said.
Merchant is training the grant participants how trauma is manifested differently based on cultural context and how to work with people who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
The three-year Mental Health Cultural Competency Staffing Project grant covers training for practitioners for each year of the grant.
Daneshpour is now recruiting additional Somali-speaking students for the next round. Grant participants receive a paid internship and are hired at the clinic as practitioners or outpatient therapists when they finish their training, she said.
Recover Health Resources is also seeking partnerships with departments across St. Cloud State. Student volunteers from nursing, social work, psychology and other service-focused programs would be a great benefit to the clinic, Daneshpour said.