These values we hold dear

Melanie Dallas headshotMelanie Dallas, LPC, CEO of Highland Rivers Behavioral Health (photo courtesy of CCCSB)

by Melanie Dallas, LPC

As a human service agency, Highland Rivers Behavioral Health is not a business – we do not sell products, we do not seek to make a profit (though through sound fiscal management we work to ensure our costs don’t exceed our revenues), and we actually work to reduce the need, over time, for people to return.

Our “business” is people – those with mental health or substance use challenges, or with intellectual developmental disabilities. Often our work involves helping individuals through some of the most difficult moments of their lives, providing treatment and support, building on their strengths, and ultimately improving the quality of their lives. We strive to apply the latter two to our staff as well – to make working at Highland Rivers the foundation for positive change and growth in their lives.

Highland Rivers’ values – those principles that guide our work, operations and staff performance – are also different from a business. As one of Georgia’s largest public behavioral health providers, I want to begin this New Year by sharing our values and how they underlie what we do every day.

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Integrity – the quality of being honest, having strong moral principles; following your moral and ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even when no one is watching. This is our assurance that we are professional, honest, respectful, responsive and accountable for our actions as employees – to those we serve and to each other.

Respect – due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights and traditions of others; a condition where everyone is treated fairly, regardless of work experience, time with the agency, gender, cultural background or any other distinguishing factor. We commit to treating each individual served, their family and our fellow staff with regard for their feelings and in a way which honors their dignity.

Empowerment – authority or power given to someone affect positive change; the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life. For our individuals, this means we assist them in finding and creating the most meaningful ways to live productive and self-fulfilling lives. In our workplace, this means the authority to take initiative, to make critical decisions to positively impact the agency and to carry out our mission.

Collaboration – working actively and positively with others to affect an overall positive impact. This means we are always willing to foster good relationships with all who share our vision for greater good – individuals, families, community partners, and other staff, to have the greatest possible positive impact by working together.

Recovery – a deeply personal, unique, and self-determined journey through which an individual strives to reach his or her full potential. A core part of our mission, this concept guides all of our activities as we work to identify strengths, foster hope, create inclusion, and support self-actualization in individuals and our co-workers.

Transparency – behavior that is characterized by openness, active communication and awareness of personal and professional accountability. We commit to managing our agency with both individual and collective accountability and purpose, and in openly sharing our challenges and successes.

Compassion – kindness, caring and a willingness to help others. As an agency, and as individual staff, we respond to the needs, challenges, accomplishments and dreams of others with a spirit of understanding, advocacy and hope. We listen and support others, and we ask for support when we need it.

Excellence – the quality of being outstanding. We strive always to provide the most effective care and create the most supportive organizational culture, guided by best practices and which supports individuals and staff in living their best life.

Highland Rivers’ values are more than just words to us – they are guiding principles, not only for how we interact with the individuals we serve, but also the communities we share, and the co-workers with whom we pursue our work, mission and purpose. We help improve peoples’ lives, every day, and there is nothing we value more than that.

Melanie Dallas is a licensed professional counselor and CEO of Highland Rivers Behavioral Health, which provides treatment and recovery services for individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in a 13-county region of northwest Georgia that includes Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk and Whitfield counties.

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