What do you picture when you hear the term mental health treatment?
If you are like most people, you are likely envisioning a traditional therapy office and a weekly hour-long session focused on processing feelings, changing behaviors and learning how to cope when life is difficult.
But what if life had gotten so difficult that you weren’t sure where you were going to sleep tonight? Or you had to make a decision about whether to buy groceries or pay your utilities? What if your physical health was making it difficult to care for your living space and you were facing eviction? Or you were having such a difficult time managing your mental health symptoms that you lost your job and couldn’t pay your rent or mortgage this month?
These are very real scenarios that happen to people in our community. This community. People who are unable to or don’t know how to manage – at least right now. Traditional mental health treatment will not work in these scenarios. These situations call for a very different type of mental health treatment – supportive housing.
How supportive housing helps with mental health treatment:
Imagine life has already knocked you down and seems to want to keep you there….
- How great would it be if your mental health services came to you? What if your mental health professional traveled to your home each week, multiple times if needed? What if they had an office in your apartment complex?
- What if you had a case manager that worked alongside you to make sure your needs are met?
- Need affordable housing? Your case manager can get you on housing lists and help you navigate application processes.
- Trouble paying your utility bills? Your case manager can help you access community resources to help.
- Having difficulty managing your finances? Your case manager can help you budget so you can pay your bills.
- Short on food for the month? Your case manager will accompany you to the local food pantry to make sure you and your family have enough to eat.
- Struggling to fill prescriptions or remembering to take your medications? Your case manager can help you access pharmacy delivery services. They can help you organize your medications and set reminders.
- Facing lease violations or eviction? Your case manager can help you work with your property manager and housing advocacy services.
- Need to find employment? Your case manager can help you look for jobs and prepare for interviews.
- Having trouble maintaining your apartment? Your case manager can help you obtain homemaker services or teach you how to complete household tasks. They can remind you each week about areas in your home that need attention.
This is merely just scratching the surface of services that are provided in supportive housing programs.
There are other benefits of supportive housing too:
- Did you know that having supportive housing decreases the use of emergency services? Research has shown that in-home support provided by caring and knowledgeable professionals reduces calls to police and paramedics, trips to the ER and number of inpatient hospitalizations.
- Physical health is also monitored more carefully and preventative healthcare is obtained regularly.
- Supportive housing also allows seniors and elders to remain in their homes and communities longer, instead of in nursing homes.
These services are near and dear to my heart. I have seen people in their darkest moments and then celebrated with them in some of their brightest moments too as they moved into a beautiful and safe new place of their own. I have seen how relieved they are to have someone help with tasks that previously seemed insurmountable to handle on their own. I have heard over and over again about how helpful and life changing these programs are, how much the case managers are valued and appreciated. I truly believe that these programs and services are a key to mental health recovery. Once a person is housed and their basic needs are met, they can focus on their other goals and participate in more traditional forms of mental health treatment.
Sometimes traditional treatment is all that is needed, and sometimes more intensive services are necessary to support our friends and neighbors. And unfortunately, the pandemic has increased the number of people in need of these types of supportive services.
Family Counseling Service is proud to announce that we launched a Community Support Program a few weeks ago to meet this need in our community. We are excited to be partnering with The Burton Foundation to provide supportive housing services to tenants in two of their beautiful and affordable properties. And this is only the beginning.
If you or someone you know is in need of in-home mental health case management services, please email CSP@aurorafcs.org or call (630) 844-2662 x262. Hope Starts Here.