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Interactive theater builds skills8/12/2019


There’s nothing Jordan wants more than a dog – a loveable, furry friend who will be her constant companion. So, she gets one – even though her mental health case worker advises against it and her lease agreement forbids pets.
This is the plot of “Shiloh,” a new play in production at Oregon State Hospital. Written and performed by a hospital theater troupe, the play’s purpose is to engage patients, staff and audience members in a creative and educational pursuit.
“The big picture is to teach people about problem solving,” said Ericka Maddock of Flower 1, who plays the role of Jordan. “People learn life skills, and that’s what they really need.”
This type of theater, known as “Theatre of the Oppressed,” was introduced in Brazil in the 1960s. Its concept is to teach the language of theater to marginalized groups and use interactive performance to promote social and political change.
At first, the protagonist – and every other character – makes decisions that lead to chaos. But by involving the audience in the play’s reenactment, the outcome improves – or at least, that’s the hope. The audience is responsible for solving the problems presented in the play.
“We improvise new scenes and try to change things,” said Rick Snook, a peer recovery specialist who oversees the group. “So far, it’s going really well.”
Read more about the Theatre of the Oppressed in the latest edition of the Recovery Times staff newsletter.
Drive To Recover8/5/2019

2019_08_01-Larson.jpgAdam Larson can still remember the day he picked up a paint brush for the first time.

He had recently arrived at Oregon State Hospital’s Junction City Campus, and Art Therapist Jerilyn Klingenberg had invited him into her classroom. She guided him to an easel with a blank canvas and encouraged him to paint what inspired him.
Larson copied a pastoral scene from a National Geographic magazine, and he was proud of his work. For the first time in a long time, Larson said he felt good about himself.
“I took off running like Forrest Gump across the country,” said Larson, who has since moved to a group home in Springfield, Ore. “Jerilyn treated me, not as a patient, but as a human being with feelings. She was what kept me real.”
For Klingenberg, working with Larson was a joy. Not only was he open and willing to learn, he had an impressionistic style that immediately captivated her.
“He was so positive, and he had such a drive to heal and recover,” she said. “It didn’t take long to help show him the beauty he had inside of himself. By the time he left, you could feel his strength.”
Larson was a patient at Oregon State Hospital (OSH) for a year and a half, spending most of that time on the Junction City Campus. Since his discharge in 2017, he’s focused on staying sober, being a good role model for his two sons, and pursing his long-term goal of becoming a peer recovery specialist.
None of this would have been possible if he hadn’t received treatment for his mental illness and substance abuse at OSH, he said.
“When I was at the hospital, I was reborn,” he said. “I was given a second chance. Now, I believe in myself, and I know ways to cope with addiction.”
To learn more about Adam Larson and his recovery journey, see the complete article in the Recovery Times staff newsletter.
Art, music showcased at Summer Fest7/24/2019

2019_07_24-SummerFest.jpgLive music, a dunk tank and more than 100 pieces of patient-created art were featured during Summer Fest at Oregon State Hospital on July 17. Patients were encouraged to display and perform their own creative projects at the private event on the Salem campus.  

The event also highlighted the value of art and music therapy, which enable people to express themselves “when words are not enough,” and is especially helpful for people who have poor self- image, challenges with emotional expression, a history of trauma and difficulty with social relationships. Check out the video to learn more.
Friends and Family Day a success6/27/2019


Junction City welcomed nearly 50 friends and family members on Saturday, June 22, for a barbecue and information resource fair. and their loved ones joined in the festivities, which included music, an art show, a photo booth and a meet and greet with families and OSH leadership.

Participants also enjoyed activities and information tables hosted by a variety of hospital departments and community partner organizations, which included White Bird Clinic, St. Vincent de Paul, and WorkSource Lane. Community partners had the opportunity to tour the hospital before they set up their displays.

While the gymnasium was filled with interesting conversations and decorative art, guests, and staff also gathered outside in the quad to enjoy a barbecue in the sunny, 75-degree weather.

Families were greeted by blooming flowers in the quads and green house as they toured the hospital. Some accompanied their families on the tours, describing what they did in each space and pointing out where certain treatments were provided.

OSH Deputy Director Kerry Kelly said the event offered “a chance for to share their hospital experience with their families, while providing family members a personal look into the support and treatment their loved ones are receiving.”

Security changes take effect April 13/22/2019

​Effective April 1, security staff will screen patients and their belongings when they return to the secure perimeter from an outing. This change is intended to keep the hospital safe for patients, staff and visitors.

Non-staff members who take patients off grounds – also known as “authorized others” – will witness this new process. It will involve security staff moving a metal detector around the patient to help prevent contraband and prohibited items from entering the secure perimeter. Staff will also screen all property and belongings coming in with a patient after an outing.

Please see the Friends and Family flyer for more information.


OSH Friends and Family Day celebrates connections3/21/2019

2019.03.19-FriendsAndFamilyDay.jpgEver since her son was admitted to Oregon State Hospital, Alice Wilson of Jefferson, Ore. couldn’t help but worry.

Is he OK? Who is taking care of him? How is he spending his time?

Through Friends and Family Day on March 16, Wilson’s fears were put to rest.

“Parents need to know where their children are and what they could be doing,” she said about her son, Jason Harris of Bridge 2. “This has helped ease my mind.”

About 20 patients – and 30 of their friends and family members – took part in Friends and Family Day on the Salem Campus. Highlights of the event included tours of the hospital, a shared lunch, and face time with hospital administrators.

Through informational booths, guests also learned more about the treatment and services the hospital provides. Representatives from Peer Recovery Services, Social Work and Consumer and Family Services discussed their roles, and other staff shared information about spiritual care, therapy groups and educational offerings.

Harris, Wilson’s son, said people who haven’t been to a Friends and Family event need to give it a chance. Not only has it helped his mom attach names to faces, it’s reassured her that he’s doing well.

“This has helped her understand what my life is like here,” he said. “I think people should check it out. And if they like it, they should keep coming back.”

This was the hospital’s second Family and Friends event since last fall. The next one is planned for Saturday, Sept. 28.

“The OSH Friends and Family Day is designed to bring patients, staff, family and friends together to celebrate the community at OSH,” said Dolly Matteucci, the hospital’s superintendent.

“The sharing of information, answering of questions, touring of the hospital, and the breaking of bread – in this case, pizza – allows us to better understand our individual and collective experience and to inform opportunities for improvement.”

For David Robles of Bridge 3, the event is a way for him to bring together two of his closest friends, Richard Layton, a Catholic priest from Carlton, Ore.; and Dan Lane, a hazelnut farmer from Dayton, Ore.

“It’s not all about me. It’s about them,” he said. “These two people – my spiritual advisor and my farming partner – are a big part of my life. They’re a good combination for me.”

Layton said he enjoyed Friends and Family Day so much that he plans to return for the next one in September – no matter what. 

“Even if you aren’t here, I will come,” Layton told Robles, joking. “I learn something new every time.”

For more information about Friends and Family Day, call Consumer & Family Services at 503-947-8109 or email

New patient handbooks are here!1/30/2019

handbooks​From now through mid-February, all Oregon State Hospital patients are receiving new and updated handbooks and program guides.

These guides contain valuable information for newly admitted patients about their hospital stay – including their rights, their responsibilities and their medical treatment.

Broad, high-level information is included in one of three handbooks, which are customized based on a patient’s legal status. Additional, program-specific information is included in each of the hospital’s seven program guides.

Patients are receiving both a handbook and a program guide. They’ll receive a new program guide if they change programs.

Oregon State Hospital’s communication team spent two years creating the materials with input from patients, clinicians, administrators, consumer advocates, peer recovery specialists and other subject-matter experts.

The goals of this project were to create materials that are standard, consistent and easy to understand. The handbooks and program guides use person-centered and recovery-oriented language, and they’re updated regularly – ensuring patients continue to receive current and correct information. 

The hospital will update the materials – both online and in print – at least once a year. Staff and patients are also encouraged to share their suggestions for how to improve the handbooks and program guides for future editions.

More information – and copies of all of the handbooks and program guides – can be found here.

Bird 1 is now open for visitors. 1/16/2019

The unit was closed for several days, due to reported cases of gastrointestinal illness.

For more information, call Consumer and Family Services at 503-947-8109 or Reception at 503-945-2800.
Visitation suspended for Bird 11/14/2019

​Visitation is suspended on Bird 1  through part of Tuesday, due to reported cases of gastrointestinal illness.

OSH will continue to reevaluate the suspension of Bird 1 and will post status updates to its website and the Friends and Family Services Facebook page. If no new symptoms occur, the hospital plans to lift restrictions by early Tuesday evening.
OSH is taking measures to prevent the virus from spreading and is taking special care of patients who are ill. 
For more information, call Consumer and Family Services at 503-947-8109 or Reception at 503-945-2800.
Friends and Family Bar-B-Que8/3/2018

OSH Salem will be hosting a Friends and Family Bar-B-Que, Town Hall with our new superintendent, and a resource fair on September 8th. Visit our facebook page for more information.

Drinking Water Advisory5/30/2018

The City of Salem has issued a drinking water advisory, which affects Oregon State Hospital’s Salem campus. The hospital is providing bottled water for patients and staff who are at risk of getting sick, as well as for food preparation in its kitchens.

Meet the therapy dogs of Oregon State Hospital 5/3/2018

Animal-Assisted Therapy program inspires hope among patients at OSH. Click here to learn how these four-legged canines are trained to hep therapists in the work they do everyday.

Peer Recovery Services wins 2018 Oregon Advocacy Award3/9/2018

​Oregon State Hospital's Peer Recovery Services Department received the 2018 Oregon Advocacy Award March 2 in Portland. 

The Mental Health Association of Portland gives the award to an individual or group who advocates for peopel with mental illness and addiction.

Read the full story on Oregon State Hospital's website.

Dolly Matteucci to become new OSH superintendent 2/2/2018

​Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen announced the hiring of Dolores "Dolly" Matteucci as superintendent of Oregon State Hospital.

Matteucci steps into her new role leading the hospital in mid-March.

For more information on the new superintendent, see the full story on the Oregon State Hospital's website.

OSH celebrates successful survey from The Joint Commission 2/1/2018

​After years of planning and preparation, Oregon State Hospital passed The Joint Commission’s survey with flying colors – despite increased survey scrutiny.

“I cannot express how proud I am of the Oregon State Hospital team,” said Interim Administrator John Swanson. “This survey went better than anyone could have imagined, and it’s all due to the incredible and dedicated staff we have here.”

One surveyor said OSH’s ligature mitigation plan does “a better job reducing ligature risk than any psychiatric hospital I have surveyed,” and another stated OSH is among the “top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation for environment of care and life-safety issues.” Surveyors added, “This is a report to celebrate; this is a testament to the culture here.”

For more information on the survey, please see the full story on Oregon State Hospital's website.

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