Arianna Mellinger works for a local mental health authority and provides substance use counseling services in deep rural east Texas, located in Longview close to the Louisiana border. She has experienced indirect impact by the criminal judicial system, with both parents having been incarcerated at separate times and later being directly impacted herself, spending time imprisoned in the federal system. Arianna graduated from Houston Community College with a certification as a Chemical Dependency Counselor, and her previous work was for a local mental health authority in Houston, providing peer support services for The Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT). She used her lived experience to connect with youth and adults as they struggle with barriers such as mental health concerns and chemical dependency struggles. She also holds a Justice Involved Peer Support Specialist Certification, a Recovery Peer Support Specialist Certification, and LCDC-CI. Arianna is passionate about the intersection of youth and the carceral system and different alternatives to incarceration.
She is currently working on getting a peer support specialist consultation company off the ground while working full-time and attending school part-time. She is also a speaker on topics that surround mental health, substance use/abuse, and the criminal justice system. She is the regional director of Lioness Justice Impacted Women’s Alliance for East Texas.
Her goal is one day to own her own nonprofit business for youth and young adults to have a location where they can come and obtain resources, education, therapy, and food. There is not a youth-serving facility within 60 miles of where she resides, and she hopes to one day bring one to the area for the youth impacted by the justice system if it might be via family member(s) or themselves.