Our individual support services vary person to person in a few different ways. First, our services are scheduled by the hour, so this could mean meeting with the client for as little as one hour per month, or as often as several hours a day.
And what are our individual support services? Well, that depends on the client, too. For some, we coordinate with their treatment providers to monitor medication and figure out preventative care measures they need to take. We help others plan their daily or weekly activities when they’re struggling with creating a meaningful routine. Sometimes this will mean partnering up with our clients for exercise, sports, or other fun activities like concerts or going to a new restaurant. For some, we even help out with meal planning or grocery shopping.
We work with a wide range of mental health issues. That can mean a wide range of needs, from person to person. But no matter what we’re helping a client with, at the heart of everything we do is connection. Whether it’s accompanying a client to the grocery store, or finding community activities where they’ll feel comfortable and then going with them if they’re nervous, we connect with our clients as human beings.
The important thing to remember when thinking about the wide range of mental health issues that we help clients with is that these are all normal issues that any person might deal with on any given day. There’s an idea that “normal” is perfect, or that someone dealing with a mental illness is not normal. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone has their own version of normal, and through our support, they are able to maintain it.
For example, one of our clients is a lawyer who works in a downtown Washington, D.C. law firm. He was struggling with depression and anxiety and needed help getting motivated and out the door to work in the mornings. We supported him by showing up for him during his morning routine, motivating him to start his day, and walking with him to work. If it sounds like simple human connection — sometimes that’s the best medicine.
Another client was a substitute teacher who had schizoaffective disorder and who loved to travel. She needed our support in keeping track of her medication refills, organizing her apartment, and planning parties and trips abroad. We met with her twice a month to be a touchstone of stability in what could have felt like a chaotic life.
And sometimes, the needs of a client can change and evolve throughout time. We worked with a young man who had Aspergers, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other complex medical issues. When we first began supporting him, he was living at home with his parents and needed our help developing a plan to live independently. We helped him figure out steps to achieve his goal, then supported him in his move to a downtown Washington,D.C. apartment. He’s now living independently and continues to receive our individual support twice a week to maintain his new lifestyle.
Despite the wide range of mental health problems we face, and the variety of support services we offer from person to person, one thing is the same — no mental illness decreases our clients’ value as human beings. Some people need a little extra support, and that’s okay. That’s what we’re here for. But the truth is, having a mental illness doesn’t take away from your ability to lead a joy-filled life.
Struggling with mental illness doesn’t make anyone a failure, or “crazy,” or not “normal,” like we’re so often made to believe. It just creates a different framework through which people live their lives. And through our individual support services, we help people recognize those needs. No matter what end of the spectrum they might be on — needing daily support, or just a semi-regular check-in — we support them in their journeys toward happy, healthy lives.