If you have not already, you will want to begin to investigate and become connected to the Community Behavioral Health Services support network in your/your loved one’s community. This network will guide you to resources in your community that include social, vocational, housing and other support programs. In general, comprehensive community services are available to people who qualify for disability income or other public assistance.
The National Alliance for Caregiving offers an excellent resource, Circle of Care: A Guidebook for Mental Health Caregivers (see the section on Community Services, beginning on page 30).
Additionally, you may wish to review the Psychosocial Treatments page of NAMI’s website. Psychosocial treatments include different types of psychotherapy and social and vocational training, and aim to provide support, education and guidance to people with mental illness and their families.
To find services in your community, contact your state or county behavioral health department or your local NAMI Affiliate. To find your nearest NAMI Affiliate, click on your state through the Find Your Local NAMI menu.
Additional resources include:
- The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center assists and promotes the development of quality respite and crisis care programs to help families locate respite and crisis care services in their communities; The website includes a National Respite Locator to help caregivers and professionals locate respite services in their community.
Supporting Living/Social Needs
Many community programs offer social and recreational activities to reduce the isolation, loneliness, and stigma that so often accompany mental illnesses. Among them:
- “Clubhouse” and “Consumer Run Drop-in Centers (CRDIs)”
“Clubhouses” and CRDIs provide a model of community mental health service that offers a support system for people living with serious mental illness, offering opportunities for friendship, work training and placement, educational opportunities in a single, caring and supported environment.
For a list of clubhouses and CRDIs in your area, contact your local NAMI Affiliate or community behavioral health service. Additionally, you may wish to consult Clubhouse International that offers an online locator to find a program in your area.
- Peer Support Specialists
Peer support specialists are people who have been successful in the recovery process and who help others experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process.
For a list of peer support specialist programs in your area, contact your local NAMI Affiliate or community behavioral health service.