United Trauma Counseling was created to bring healing to the world by creating a safe space for people to heal and recover from emotional trauma, mental health, and addiction. Our aim is to build stronger families and communities by increasing awareness, education, connection, support, and resources for emotional trauma and psychological injuries. Given the proper environment and loving support to heal, we believe that people can transform trauma into strength, wisdom, compassion, and hope. Thus, increasing their self-esteem, self-compassion, and their ability to contribute positively to their communities and society.
Melanie Vallee, the founder, established UTC in 2014 to fill a need in the mental health and addiction recovery fields. Like many adolescents, her teenage son was struggling with mental health issues and addiction. She was not able to find an affordable dual diagnosis recovery program for her son and was determined to help establish more affordable options for parents and people.
As a single mom with limited resources she, like many parents, felt scared, and alone with nowhere to turn. She recognized that it is far easier to access medical treatment for physical injuries at a local emergency room than it is to access medical treatment for psychological injuries. Reconciling this discrepancy was the motivation for establishing UTC. She saw a need to make mental health care equally accessible within our medical and healthcare system. Her goal was and is to make accessing trauma-informed therapeutic services as easy as possible, regardless of income or demographics. She realized through her client's struggles, as well as her own, that finding trauma, mental health, and addiction informed therapeutic services is extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible.
Melanie and her son, Reece, were two of millions of people in the world suffering from the devastating effects of unresolved and complex childhood trauma. The lack of support, education, and resources made it difficult for her and her son to access help. Melanie was raised by a teenage single mother with no family support and a family history of PTSD, depression, bipolar, and addiction. This made it easy for her to understand how challenging it can be to fight through and rise above addiction, poverty, abuse, mental health, and trauma. She recognized how difficult it is for people that are under-privileged to afford quality trauma-informed counseling.
Due to the limited resources existing today, her son was not able to get the help he needed in time and was never able to access a dual diagnosis recovery program that may have saved his life. He had just graduated from WSU three months prior to his death and died three days after his 26th birthday from an accidental overdose. He needed more than one single mother could offer. He needed a community and a society that understands addiction and mental health and cares enough to ensure he and others have access to help and support. He was an outstanding student and athlete, an incredibly gifted, creative, fun-loving, ambitious, motivated, romantic and determined young man with a love of life, dancing, singing, and spending time with his loved ones. He loved children, animals, and had a heart for those less fortunate. His name, Reece Gabriel means "Enthusiastic Messenger", and Melanie believes his message was one of unconditional love, freedom of self-expression, and challenging the status quo. All of our loved ones who have died from addiction, overdose, mental health, and suicide are sending very clear messages that we need to unite, love enough, and care enough to transform our understanding and treatment of trauma.
Her desperate attempt to save her sons and other's lives pushed her beyond the odds and allowed her to earn a Master’s Degree in Systems Counseling and Alcohol and Drug Counseling. She is currently in a Ph.D. program developing a new integrative model for understanding and transforming mental health, depression, and addiction. Her research is aimed at reforming our current medical model and creating new policies making it easier and more affordable for people to access treatment for mental health and addiction. According to the World Health Organization (2013), depression is listed as the 3rd leading cause of disease worldwide and is the #1 cause of disability. It is projected that depression will be the 2nd leading cause of disease within the next ten years and is causing a massive economic and huge social burden. Suicide is the number one cause of death among our teenagers, yet there is no current standardized measure for understanding or treating depression or trauma.
She and the UTC team are working with transdisciplinary research and development teams to establish a nationwide standardized treatment model for emotional trauma and addiction recovery. Our goal is to reverse the current trajectory for depression and ensure that all people no matter their age, socio-economic status, gender, or demographics have access to quality health care that specializes in standardized trauma-specific treatment. We are advocating for policies that prioritize mental health, and aim to revitalize the health care system, making it both more effective and more assessable.
We believe that together we can create a safe, nurturing, therapeutic space to heal trauma and heal the world!