The abilities to work, obtain medical care, maintain healthy relationships and a place to live, are taken for granted by most of us each and every day. For the people that ShelterCare’s Behavioral Heath Program assists, these staples of a quality life are often unobtainable luxuries.
Of the average 150 people we help on a monthly basis, many suffer severe and persistent psychiatric disorders, including major depression, bipolar I disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia. Many have concurrent physical disabilities, or other serious medical conditions, and have not received regular medical treatment. Most of our clients have experienced psychological, and very likely physical trauma. Add to this, homelessness, and the distress that our clients face is unparalleled in most of society.
One such client is Mike. When Mike came to ShelterCare, he was homeless and frightened. Experiencing delusions and hallucinations, Mike thought that he was being chased and spied on. Living on the streets between stints in jail, Mike had no access to the consistent psychiatric assistance that he so desperately needed. By combining services offered by our Behavioral Health and Permanent Housing Programs, we helped Mike find relief from symptoms of psychosis and build a life for himself that included employment, housing, a driver’s license and car.
ShelterCare’s 15 Behavioral Health Program staff members provide clinical needs assessment, psychotherapy, skills training and case management to link clients to other community services. Supported employment services, peer support, therapy groups and even transport to doctor’s appointments and grocery stores, round out the care that changes the lives of people in need on a daily basis. Since being added to ShelterCare’s services 40 years ago, the Behavioral Health Program has taken thousands of people from mental suffering to the stability needed to obtain the quality of life that every person deserves.