Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)


FAQ- Telehealth

How do I connect to my teletherapy session?

Telehealth offers a range of benefits for both therapists and their clients. It can be a powerful tool that makes mental health care easier and more convenient to access and provide. Find out more about Telehealth Visits at MCCFL.

Use this documentation to prepare for your Telehealth appointment with your provider. Client Guide to preparing for teletherapy session.

FAQ: Housing Access and Support (HAS)

What are my responsibilities once on the HAS program?

Great Question! When looking for housing it is important you attend all scheduled appointments, express concerns and/or questions to Staff respectfully, and fill our applications honestly. Once housed, keep the unit in good condition, and comply with your lease. Please notify HAS if your income or family size has changed, or if you plan to move. Notify HAS if you have questions or concerns for your landlord. Please use the dwelling for only people on the lease. Allow inspections to occur as needed, as well as monthly home visits from the HAS Team.

Can I still obtain a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)/”Section 8” if i am working with HAS?

YES! Because HAS is not a long-term subsidy, it is required that all individuals apply to the HCV waitlist with the goal of transitioning onto HCV in the future. If you do not qualify for the HCV waitlist, you are able to stay on the HAS Program

What restrictions are there on the type of rental I can find?

All rentals must pass the Housing Quality Standards Inspection (HAS), and rent cannot exceed the current Fair Market Rents (FMRs). You are able to seek out apartments, duplexes, houses, rooms, etc., however, there are some restrictions.

How long does it take to find housing?

Every person’s rental history and barriers to housing are different. There is not a set amount of time it takes to obtain housing, but active engagement with the HAS Team is beneficial. HAS does not seek out housing without your engagement or on your behalf

How long will I be on the waitlist?

Because housing individuals is different every time, there is not a set time frame allotted for the waitlist. We do our best to open up people as soon as possible, given the importance of obtaining housing

FAQ: Addiction

How do you know if someone is addicted to drugs?

There are a number of signs that can indicate that someone is struggling with a substance abuse or addiction disorder.These include:

  • The fact that addiction is a concern:

Substance abuse or addiction is rarely ever a concern when it is clear that there is not a problem. Only those who drink heavily and/or use a significant amount of legal or illegal addictive substances on a regular basis are concerned that they may be living with addiction – and in most cases, they are indeed struggling somewhere on the spectrum of a substance use disorder.

  • Changes in personality:

The person may once have had a sense of humor and loved hanging out with friends, and now would rather be alone. Conversely, if someone was once shy and now regularly drinks heavily and jumps into the spotlight or is suddenly very chatty and social, it can indicate a problem as well. Extreme changes in personality that are not clearly caused by other events (e.g., depression after a divorce or loss of a loved one) when drug or alcohol use is an issue can indicate a disorder.

  • Lying, stealing, and other dishonest choices:

Generally, people lie when they feel they have something to hide. Similarly, stealing and being dishonest in order to cover the use of drugs and alcohol or to buy more is a clear sign of a problem.

  • Significant time spent under the influence:

“Normal” use of alcohol is defined by having no more than a drink or two a day, and no use of illegal substances or legal drugs outside of their indicated use is considered appropriate. When someone spends a significant amount of time under the influence, recovering from using, or seeking substances, it’s a sign of addiction.

  • Isolating if unable to be with others who drink or get high:

Spending time alone or shifting to a pattern of spending time only with others who abuse substances heavily can indicate addiction as well.

What is the definition of addiction?

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a disease that affects brain structure and function, resulting in a person’s inability to stop using a substance without physical and psychological consequences.

Addiction is a mental health disorder that also results in a diminished ability to control behaviors and to recognize the consequences of continued substance use. It is a chronic condition that, without treatment, can lead to disability or even death. However, like other chronic illnesses, addiction can be managed through specialized treatment.

How can mental health issues lead to addiction?

One very common scenario occurs when a person experiences a trauma that triggers depression, anxiety, disordered eating habits, suicidal thoughts, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In an attempt to manage the otherwise unmanageable symptoms associated with these disorders, many people turn to drugs and alcohol. These substances may initially serve to quell the anxiety, alleviate depression, or otherwise numb the pain caused by the mental health issue. However, over time, continued use of these substances will fail to bring the sought after relief and will instead create a new and equally intrusive problem: addiction.

FAQ: Mental Health

Can drug use cause a mental health condition?

Yes. Some drugs – including synthetic drugs, LSD, crystal meth, prescription stimulants like Adderall, and others – have been shown to trigger extreme mental health issues. Depression, agitation and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions, and more have all been attributed to drug use.

Though acute mental health symptoms under the influence are common, it is often the case that people who stop using the drug and undergo treatment will be able to reverse most, if not all, of the effects. However, in some cases, full recovery is not available. For example, heavy marijuana use in young people with a predisposition for schizophrenia may be more likely to trigger the development of schizophrenia, a disorder that will not improve with cessation of use.

Can mental illness run in the family?

Yes. Genetics play a role in the development of a mental health disorder. First, a person’s genes may make that person more likely to experience mental health symptoms like depression or anxiety or to develop a personality disorder if a parent, sibling, or grandparent also struggled with the disorder. Second, being raised in a family in which one or more members is living with an untreated mental health disorder may cause someone to learn those behaviors and be less likely to recognize the need for treatment later.

What is the best way to talk to someone about mental health issues?

It is not easy to broach the subject of mental health with someone who is clearly struggling from the negative effects of an untreated mental health disorder, with or without a co-occurring substance abuse problem. In some cases, one of the symptoms of the disorder may be that the person does not recognize the problems for what they are, but rather views others as the source of the issue. This makes it more difficult to connect the person with treatment and puts many families in a predicament when it comes to helping a loved one heal.

In dire situations – for example, when people are demonstrable threats to their own personal safety or that of others – it may be possible to enforce an involuntary treatment hold. Laws vary by state and procedures must be followed carefully.

In other situations, if there is a hope that the person will see reason and experience clarity in deciding how best to manage the problem of co-occurring disorders and proceed with treatment, then an intervention can be a helpful method to connect a loved one with treatment. Families are encouraged to:

  • Handpick a few concerned, balanced family members who are all united in their goal of helping the person enroll in treatment.
  • Hire a professional family mediator (e.g., interventionist) to manage the event and make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
  • Enroll the person in treatment in advance to ensure that that person can immediately begin treatment after the intervention.
  • Remain calm, nonjudgmental, and focused solely on helping the person recognize the need for immediate treatment.
  • How is PTSD treated?

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic experience. The symptoms can be avoidant (e.g., causing the person to want to avoid anything that triggers memories of the event), aggressive, or negative in nature, and intrusive on the person’s ability to function in day-to-day life. Treatment may vary based on the symptoms experienced, however, they often include some combination of medication and psychotherapy.


    • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Guided eye movements performed in combination with a retelling of the trauma event can help to diminish its power and decrease the negative symptoms experienced by the client.
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This style of talk therapy helps clients to recognize the patterns they exhibit in response to different events and situations, and assists them in altering those patterns with shifts in perspective.
    • Support groups: Meeting regularly with others to share experiences and tips can be beneficial to all involved.
    • Exposure therapy: Being exposed to some aspect of the trauma can help to minimize the power of the event and put control back into the hands of the client.

    • Anti-anxiety medications: Depending upon the substance of choice, an anti-anxiety medication can help to diminish the level of tension experienced.
    • Antidepressants: Managing depression and grief related to the traumatic event can be instrumental in facilitating therapeutic healing.
    • Sleep aids: Insomnia and nightmares are often issues for people living with PTSD, and the right sleep aids can make a big difference.

    How do you know if a mental health disorder is an underlying cause for substance abuse?

    You may have an indication that a mental health disorder is underlying your loved one’s substance abuse disorder if:

  • The person experienced a trauma (e.g., physical or sexual abuse, loss of a loved one, or near-death experience) prior to beginning heavy drug use.
  • There is a family history of mental health issues.
  • The person exhibits clear signs of a mental health disorder (e.g., depression, anxiety, or disordered eating).
  • The person has experienced extreme personality changes before, during, and/or after heavy drug or alcohol use.
  • If you believe that your loved one is living with a mental health disorder, a complete psychiatric evaluation is needed to identify the problematic symptoms and reach an accurate diagnosis that will inform treatment going forward.

    What are the non-medication methods for treating mental health symptoms?

    Though medications may play an important role in recovery from a mental health disorder because they aid in the management of symptoms, they are not the only option in mental healthcare. In fact, for many, they play a steadily decreasing role in recovery as they progress and grow through treatment. Each person is different and will be differently impacted by the specific mental health disorder in combination with drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, and thus different therapies and treatments will make sense in different situations.

    Which treatment program should come first: mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment?

    At one time, it was considered standard to expect a person to first stop using all drugs and alcohol and then to undergo mental health treatment. This is no longer the case. It is accepted across the medical and mental health community that co-occurring disorders are so deeply entwined that it is necessary to treat both issues at the same time.

    Though it may be necessary to attend to a client’s physical needs first in terms of providing medical detox assistance as needed, therapeutic treatment, when it commences, must focus not only on the issues that drove addiction but also on the issues created by the mental health disorder.

    FAQ: Cost of Services

    I don’t have insurance, are there discounts available to help cover the cost of my treatment?

    MCCFL has a reduced “sliding” fee policy that is applied equally to all individuals seeking service. No individuals will be denied any MCCFL services, including but not limited to crisis management services, because of an inability to pay for such services.

    How do I know if my insurance will cover my treatment?

    We are the designated community health agency for people with The Oregon Health Plan(OHP). If you carry a private insurance please check with your provider.

    FAQ: Admissions

    In the event of bad weather, how will I know if MCCFL is open?

    When snow falls heavily we may need to close our office for the safety of our clients and staff.

    We will inform you of a closure in the following ways:

    If our office is closes due to bad weather, we will contact you when the office reopens to reschedule your appointment.

    In the event of an emergency please call (541) 296-5452 and press 1 or hang up and dial 9 1 1.

    Is my information kept private?

    We have a comprehensive privacy policy that protects your rights as a patient. Click here to review our Privacy Notice.

    Will I see a Clinician during my first visit?

    At your first appointment, which is an intake appointment, you will meet with a clinician who will complete an evaluation to determine the services you need. The first appointment lasts approximately 2 hours. During this visit an appointment with appropriate healthcare professionals will be scheduled.

    How do I access services at Mid-Columbia Center for Living?

    If you are seeking services for intellectual/ developmental disabilities (DD), Mental health (MH) and/or Substance Use Disorders (SUD) you can always reach out to our Referral Coordinators for information and support in getting enrolled.

    If you are an adult seeking mental health or substance use you can also simply walk in without an appointment to be assessed (listed below) during our Open Access times. This enables you to access services without an appointment, on a first come first service basis. After the initial assessment is completed you will be able to engage and schedule all future appointments with the clinician you saw for the assessment. Our hope is to better support our community in connecting with treatment when it’s needed most.

    If you speak Spanish, all services will need to be scheduled through our Referral Coordinators for both MH and SUD services.
    If you are a youth or seeking services for one, all services will need to be scheduled through our Referral Coordinator for both MH and SUD services.

    If you are making a referral for services, we will continue to keep the referent up to date on all the referrals received in our offices, in a timely manner. To help us be able to communicate with you, please have clients complete a Release of Information and send to us at your earliest convenience.

    If you have any questions please call Ethel Marquez in the Hood River office at 541.386.2620 ext. 2103 or Bobbie Napoli in The Dalles office 541.296.5452 ext. 3236.

    Hood River Office
    Mental Health Services Substance Use Disorder Services
    Monday 1:00 & 1:30 pm Monday 9:30 & 10:00 am
    Tuesday 9:30 &10:00 am Tuesday 1:00 & 1:30 pm
    Wednesday 1:00 & 1:30 pm Wednesday 9:30 & 10:00 am
    Thursday 9:30 & 10:00 am Thursday 1:00 & 1:30 pm

    Mental HealthSubstance Use Treatment
    Monday8:30 AM9:30 AM1:30 PM2:30 PM
    Tuesday1:30 PM2:30 PM8:30 AM9:30 AM
    Wednesday8:30 AM9:30 AM1:30 PM2:30 PM
    Thursday1:30 PM2:30 PM8:30 AM9:30 AM

    The Dalles Office
    Mental Health Services Substance Use Disorder Services
    Monday 9:00 & 9:30 am Monday 1:00 & 1:30 pm
    Tuesday 1:00 & 1:30 pm Tuesday 9:00 & 9:30 am
    Wednesday 9:00 & 9:30 am Wednesday 2:00 & 2:30 pm
    Thursday 1:00 & 1:30 am Thursday 9:00 & 9:30 am
    Friday 9:00 & 9:30 pm Friday 1:00 & 1:30 am

    Do you take walk-in customers?

    The first step is a screening. You can call the Hood River Office at 541-386-2620 or the Dalles Office at 541-296-5452. You will answer a series of questions to help determine appropriate services. If eligible, an intake appointment will be scheduled to further access your needs.

    What are the eligibility requirements?

    At your first appointment, which is an intake appointment, you will meet with a clinician who will complete an evaluation to determine the services you need. Expect this appointment to last approximately 2 hours. During this visit an appointment with appropriate healthcare professionals will be scheduled.