Medical Professional of the Month: Sarah Nelson, Arrow Passage Recovery

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    Sarah Nelson is the Director of Admissions at Arrow Passage Recovery, a leading-edge addiction and dual diagnosis treatment center in Massilon, Ohio.

    Although Sarah is now widely known and well respected in the mental health and addiction community, she began her journey just 8 years ago when she stumbled on her calling by accident.

    Less than 10 years into her career in community mental health and addiction services, Sarah has made huge strides in her field. From forming a grassroots community coalition that won the coveted Hope Award for Innovation to completing The National Coalition Academy through Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and getting recognized in Washington D.C., Sarah believes she has truly found her purpose.

    Sarah’s Journey

    Sarah Nelson grew up as a normal member of the Lake County community. She attended Chardon High School and went on to receive her STNA certification to work in at-home healthcare.

    Although she formed a close bond with both the people she worked with and helped, she decided to leave and begin working part-time at the Crisis Center doing medical records. Around that same time, there was a new program forming at the center called the REACH grant, a housing initiative for chronically homeless individuals who had severe, persistent disorders. After a close friend of Sarah’s submitted a letter of interest for her, she accepted the position and began working tirelessly on the grant.

    It was then that Sarah realized her love of being on the front lines and her passion of working directly with the community. She found so much fulfillment in the project and realized what she was truly meant to do.

    The Coalition

    In 2015, Sarah attended a local Town Hall meeting surrounding the recent opioid epidemic. Dozens of community members were dying from overdoses and no one knew what to do or how to solve the problem.

    Some of the larger issues were both that members of the community did not feel safe reporting the drug activity they were witnessing and that no one in the community knew about the resources that were available to them.

    Sarah was so distraught after the community-wide meeting that she knew something had to be done- and fast.

    Initially, it began with setting up a confidential email address where community members could safely report drug activity with anonymity. Slowly, it began to grow into something more. They started providing and promoting more resources, hosting more events with Stark County, and launching projects like installing prescription drug drop-offs in the town.

    Under Sarah’s leadership, the coalition was awarded the Hope Award for Innovation through the Stark County Mental Health Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR) and was recognized by Ohio Governor John Kasich for their community dedication and involvement.

    Sarah also completed The National Coalition Academy through Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and went on to be recognized in Washington DC. for her achievement.

    Although Sarah has since stepped back from the coalition due to time constraints, it’s still going strong and helping hundreds of members throughout the Stark community.

    There’s always hope- don’t give up. If one door is closed, it’s meant to be closed… but there’s another one that’s going to open up.

    Sarah Nelson’s advice for people going through hard times

    Arrow Passage Recovery

    With the capability to have 40 in-house patients at one time, Arrow Passage Recovery is a unique facility that recognizes recovery is personal and cannot be constrained to a standard 30-day program.

    Through evaluations by the qualified staff, patients are assessed and guided through either residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, or one of their outpatient offerings.

    As the Director of Admissions, Sarah is on the front lines. When someone calls in to get help, Sarah provides them with loads of helpful resources and providers that can help them through their journey to getting better.

    “Just being able to help somebody- giving people hope again.”

    – Sarah Nelson on the most rewarding part of her job

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