The First Step in Mental Health Stability
The Salvation Army’s Emergency Community Support along with the Crisis Response Program help those suffering from mental illness start to take back control of their lives. Through referrals from therapists, hospitals or the justice system, specialists intervene during mental health crises in order to reduce the number of hospitalizations and police calls for mental health reasons. Janna Thomas, an emergency community support specialist, said, “Meeting with us can be the beginning of their mental health recovery. We check in on them when they want somebody to talk to and make them feel like somebody cares.”

These two 90-day programs help clients by creating a safety plan and identifying coping mechanisms to get through the next crisis. Beyond that, specialists also offer other much-needed support that can greatly contribute to mental health, including coaching life skills, transporting them to appointments, making sure they’re getting and taking their medications, connecting them with other social services or even driving them to job interviews or the grocery store. All of these things move clients toward better — and lasting — mental health outcomes.

One client who has seen particular success is a woman who was kicked out of her senior apartment complex due to alcoholism issues and behavioral problems. After a police call, she was referred to the Crisis Response Program where she was put in touch with the right support teams. She met regularly with both a Salvation Army emergency community support specialist and a peer support specialist, and through their guidance, enrolled in the Senior Companions Program and goes to church and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings whenever she can. Having the right people to talk to can make all the difference.

More than anything else, success to our clients means that they feel better prepared to handle crisis situations in the future so they don’t have to go to the hospital or have the police called.

Janna emphasizes that her clients are just like everyone else, but may be going through a hard time with divorce, domestic violence, job loss, illness, financial struggles or more. “Imagine yourself on your worst possible day, and that’s their life right now.”