A Safe Space for Those With Mental Health Challenges
During Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize that mental health issues can affect anyone. In fact, given the stress we’ve collectively gone through in the past three years, mental wellness has likely been a challenge for someone you know. Just look at the facts:
- More than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 will experience a mental illness in a given year.
- 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
- 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
With so many at risk for mental health challenges, Chimes must be prepared for whatever level of assistance the people we serve require — including those whose need more than an outpatient facility can provide but less than a psychiatric hospital, for example.
Thanks to our voluntary, six-bed crisis residential facility at Holcomb Berks County, we are more than just prepared — we are leading the way. We provide structured days in a home-like atmosphere, with thrice-daily group therapy, individualized Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), interspersed with life skills classes, mindfulness groups and other programs.
“Staff and residents prepare meals together,” says director Robert Lee Sanders, “and while the resident is with us, usually for seven to 14 days, we’re working towards a goal. Every day is segmented so that the resident can make steps towards that goal.”
Should someone need medication or other medical care, Holcomb Berks County does have both a Licensed Practical Nurse and a Certified Nurse Practitioner on staff. We assess suicide risk and try to determine whether their medications need adjusting.
Who comes to Holcomb Berks County? It’s a combination of people. It’s folks who are “stepping down” from a fully inpatient facility. It’s people who are currently in outpatient therapy but are experiencing what Sanders calls “situational stressors” and need a little more structure and community.
And, of course, there are walk-ins and referrals from a crisis contact, like the local and 988 crisis hotlines. “We have a thorough assessment within 24 hours of someone coming into our program,” Sanders says, “to get the person into a safe environment and get them the treatment they need to ultimately return to the community.”
Chimes Holcomb is already making a difference and eager to grow as a resource for people in Berks County.