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Clinical Therapist Mark Russell, MSW, has joined American Addiction Centers’ Mid-South team as a treatment consultant serving northeast Mississippi.
Russell previously led Oxford Treatment Center’s evening Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at the Tupelo Outpatient Office. Today his work involves building connections with regional partners in the medical, mental health and related fields. When a person needs help for addiction to drugs or alcohol, he can help connect them with the right treatment program based on their needs and situation.
Russell said his experience as a therapist reinforced his understanding that people addicted to drugs or alcohol often don’t fit the stereotype.
“They’re your next-door neighbors, the people you go to church with,” he said. “They’re teachers and businesspeople.
Russell attended Mississippi State University and has lived in the Tupelo area for 25 years. He was drawn to pursue a degree in social work after layoffs hit the pharmaceutical company where he was working as a sales rep.
“Because our company sold all kinds of medications, including antidepressants, I knew a lot of psychiatrists and therapists and had gotten interested in mental health,” he said. “When the layoff hit, my wife and I had been praying about what to do. We really felt like one of my gifts was listening to people and helping people.”
Russell earned a master’s degree from Walden University and completed a 1,000-hour internship at Oxford Treatment Center’s Etta and Tupelo locations. As a therapist in the Tupelo office, he found it rewarding to see the progress that people made through his IOP group meetings and one-on-one therapy sessions.
“They were ordinary good people, and I liked every one of them,” he said. “They were people who had used substances for their coping skill. Life had overwhelmed them at one point or another, and they were survivors. It wasn’t a problem until it became a problem.
“In treatment, I always told them: ‘You’ve already shown so much courage.’ Think about how many people are out there right now who haven’t sought treatment and never will. It’s a brave thing to say: ‘I’m willing to forego my best coping skill and be vulnerable and learn something new, because this is killing me.’
While AAC does not accept Medicaid, Oxford Treatment Center is in-network with BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi and accepts most commercial insurance. Since every situation is different, Russell and his team work with individuals and families to apply their insurance coverage toward the appropriate level of care and length of stay. Families can also choose to pay privately.
To reach Mark Russell directly for help with a drug or alcohol problem, call (662) 679-0639.