When Sarah first came to Behavioral Support Services (BSS), she was clinically depressed, reluctant to go outside, and was living in temporary housing.
One of our targeted case managers linked Sarah with psychiatric services, therapy and case management. Today she has enrolled in school, found a job and moved into permanent housing with her partner and two children.
Sarah’s story is the essence of what we do at BSS.
Our purpose is to provide clients with ways to manage their day-to-day symptoms so they are able to function in society at a higher level every day. When our clients leave us, they have been supported with peer support groups and structure with their family to prevent them from having to come back.
At BSS, we don’t want our clients to return – not returning translates to our having done things right for our clients. It means we’ve provided them with mechanisms for coping; we’ve connected them with a support group; we’ve helped them find ways to deal with stress. And most significant, we’ve given them a plan. They know how to deal with their issues day-to-day and go out in society and function and be a participating individual.
How We Help
- Our core strength is how we provide integrated care. We work with the primary care physician. Our psychiatrist, and our departments collaborate with each other.
- Our targeted case managers, like the one who helped Sarah, work in the home to provide community support for the clients as well as their families. They also set up peer groups as further support.
- Our psychosocial rehabilitation counselors (we call them the occupational therapists of the mind) deal with day-to-day living skills and helping our clients create connections such as finding employment.
- Therapists make up the third element of our integrated care. They deal with the mental and psychological therapeutic causes of mental illness such as trauma or a condition at birth. It’s not uncommon for clients to deal with frustration or anger.
While other mental health practices work in silos, our focus on integrated care empowers our team to work together strategically. This also reduces complications associated with coordination of services. When you work as a peer group, as we do at BSS, the team can share its insights and suggestions to get a clear picture of the client’s needs.
For example, therapists might only see the clients once or twice a week for an hour. They may not be aware of all that the targeted case manager or psychosocial rehabilitation counselor knows because they see the client for multiple hours a week. They are talking to mom and dad or the husband or wife, so they have a bigger picture of what’s happening with the client. Operating as a peer group, the team can set up informed structures to help the client.
Data based decision tools track how well clients meet their goals and do not return. We also track those who return in 30, 60, or 90 days and others who need to step up to an escalated level of care. This follow-up takes time and a coordinated effort, but it ultimately leads to fewer and fewer recurring mental health crises for our clients.
Sarah was discharged recently. Her targeted case manager has been following up with her progress and says Sarah is doing very well. She’s happy, thriving. Sarah still occasionally contacts her case manager just to say, “Hey, this and that happened, and I’m doing well in my job.”
It’s a conversation that makes her targeted case manager smile.
“I’m very proud of her.”