Maranda Heckler, Healthy Transitions Program Case Manager and Certified Peer Counselor, has a long, meaningful relationship with Columbia River Mental Health Services.
When Maranda was 16, her Columbia River journey began as a client when she started receiving therapy through our outpatient program. Years later, while working on her undergraduate degree in psychology, she began volunteering at Columbia River through a youth mentorship program.
After finishing her degree, Maranda started looking for different career options. Because she had a successful mentoring experience, she applied at Columbia River. Eventually, she was hired as a Youth & Peer Navigator. There, she was able to use her stories to show other young people that they are not alone on their mental health journey.
Maranda shared, “Something really cool about our program is that I didn’t have to be a certified peer counselor when I was hired. I was able to receive that once I started, with the help of Columbia River.”
Maranda had been working in this position for two years when her co-workers started to advocate for her to receive a promotion. Youth Case Manager then became Maranda’s new title.
Maranda expressed many pros about working at Columbia River, including an encouraged work-life balance and opportunities for continued education. Opportunities to learn and grow within the organization are everywhere.
“When I first started this job, I had my bachelor’s in psychology and was becoming a peer counselor to use my own lived experience, but I’ve been able to talk to therapists, case managers, and employment specialists from
various programs and learn so much from them and their experiences in regards to resources in our community,” expressed Maranda.
“One of my favorite things about working here is knowing that the staff cares so much about the work we do and about our clients. I’ve never felt like I wasn’t supported while working here, which is such a good feeling when you’re starting in the mental health field.”
Maranda continues to work as a case manager and certified peer counselor.
Her personal experience with mental health and Columbia River allows her to support many youths struggling in our community. Acknowledging the importance of supporting local youth in meeting basic goals is crucial to mental health care.
This care is the driving factor that motivates CRMHS staff to continue changing lives.