Dr. Joseph Carrica III, Chief Executive Officer of Southeast Health Group (SHG), was recently elected to the National Council for Behavioral Health Board of Directors. This position is obtained through an election by National Council member organizations representing 10 regions, covering the entire United States.
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. As a member of the Board of Directors, Carrica will be charged with the task of representing National Council members, and their commitment to diversity, leadership, and excellence. The mission of the council is to advance its members’ abilities to deliver integrated health care.
“We are very lucky to have JC join the National Council Board. His passion for rural and frontier America will bring a unique perspective to the team,” Doyle Forrestal, Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council’s CEO, said. “His personal knowledge of the hardships our rural areas face, combined with his life-long involvement around agriculture make him the perfect spokesperson for rural stress and underrepresented areas. His insight will be well received as many of our current board members live and work in urban settings.”
Carrica, a southeast Colorado Native, has dedicated his career to improving the lives of residents of rural areas through a variety of positions. As an advocate for those struggling with addiction and mental illness, Carrica’s resume is extensive. After spending time as a Certified Addictions Counselor, he began a for-profit substance use disorder (SUD) treatment center, SinglePoint Services, LLC, which was later purchased by SHG and became the existing SUD treatment arm of the organization. After holding various positions at SHG, he eventually worked his way up to CEO, where he continues to play a key role in major expansions of the agency.
Southeast Health Group is an integrated behavioral health care provider serving six rural and frontier counties in the southeast corner of the State of Colorado, including Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers. The region covers a total of 9,600 square miles with an aggregate population of 47,304, offering integrated outpatient primary care services, physical therapy, mental health counseling, psychiatric services, substance use disorder services, jail-based services, school-based services, vocational training, withdrawal management, transitional residential treatment, peer support services, and comprehensive wellness services.
“I am passionate about helping our communities thrive. Health care and behavioral health in particular, are essential components of strong and healthy communities. Holding a seat on the Board of Directors at the national level increases my platform to advocate for rural and frontier communities, not only in my community, but across the region,” Carrica stated.
While he has many accomplishments to his name, Carrica is most proud of his work on The Coffee Break Project; a grassroots initiative to help promote suicide awareness and prevention among farmers and ranchers. Prompted by a wave of agricultural suicide completions, he gathered a committee of locals in the industry to discuss what could be done. Currently, eight members sit on this board, all contributing a logo familiar to the agriculture community members, such as the John Deere Dealership, the local sale barn, an agricultural lender, etc. By joining the effort, their name is added to all messaging that goes out, presenting a united front to overcome the stigma of behavioral health. After rapid growth in the area, the Coffee Break Project has become a state-wide initiative, traveling to other frontier communities to instruct them how to build their committee, as well as teach that group how to utilize High Plains Research Network’s suicide prevention model, COMET (Changing Our Mental & Emotional Trajectory).
“The farming and ranching community faces a unique set of struggles,” Carrica explained. “With low commodity prices, and high operational costs, rural stress is at an all-time high, with no peak in sight. It’s also a very proud and stubborn audience, that is unlikely to reach out for help. Essentially, the Coffee Break Project is centered around encouraging farmers and ranchers to do what they’ve always done- look out for each other.”
Carrica assumed duties as an elected Board member on July 1, and will continue to serve through June 30, 2021. For more information about The National Council for Behavioral Health, visit their website at https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/. For more information about SHG, visit https://www.southeasthealthgroup.org/.
For information about scheduling training on The Coffee Break Project in your rural or frontier community, contact Carrica at firstname.lastname@example.org.