Ed O'Brien

Edward O’Brien is the new vice president of Northern Arizona Operations for Southwest Behavioral & Health Services.

Southwest Behavioral & Health Services has named Edward O’Brien vice president of Northern Arizona Operations. In the new role, O’Brien will oversee all northern Arizona operations.

“My home office will remain in Payson, although I will split my time between Gila, Yavapai, Coconino, and Mohave counties,” O’Brien said.

He is a licensed associate substance abuse counselor in Arizona and has experience in rural behavioral health program operations and regional management. During his tenure at Southwest Behavioral, O’Brien has held several leadership roles, including community outreach specialist, senior team lead, housing coordinator, and most recently, interim regional program director for Mohave County and Payson.

“After joining our organization in 2012, Eddy served in progressing management roles in Northern Arizona,” said COO Dominic Miller. “His ability to build relationships and professional integrity make him the perfect fit for this position.”

O’Brien has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University.

“Southwest Behavioral & Health Services is extremely important to the community, as there are limited resources available in rural Arizona. We offer many services, including behavioral health residential facilities, outpatient programs, therapy, day programs and we are currently expanding our in-school programs across northern Arizona. It’s important to integrate our programs into the rural communities so more people will reach out and we can work diligently to overcome the stigma sometimes attached to mental health,” O’Brien said.

He shared some plans for the program, “Some exciting changes include our recent agreement to have a therapist at the schools. We also plan on opening our garden program once again, which will assist in building members’ resumés, while receiving supported employment services. We will also be providing peer support training at our Payson site. Southwest Behavioral & Health Services also provides the community with a variety of both entry level and professional career opportunities.”

Asked what drew him to the field, O’Brien said, “My son motivated me to begin my career in counseling. I wanted my legacy to be remembered as someone who was able to relate to teens and help make them aware of successful paths young people can take. There is a lot of peer pressure on youth as they develop and being able to share the skills necessary to cope with this pressure is important to me. I have worked in several positions throughout the organization that eventually led me into the administrative side of behavioral health. I recognize the importance of staff leadership and the need to expand services to our community.”

While much of his time is devoted to administrative activities, O’Brien said, “I do still meet with members whenever I have the opportunity.”

To learn more about SB&H programs, services and ways to help visit https://www.sbhservices.org/.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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