Neighbors pull together to help Minnesotans with mental illnesses
As many as one in four adults experiences a mental illness in their lifetime. That means one in four of your neighbors may need some form of mental health care. What is your neighborhood doing to support them?
Residents of Powderhorn Park, a community in south Minneapolis, knew family members, friends and neighbors who were living with mental health conditions. When their local hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), was searching for locations for a mental health crisis treatment residence, the neighborhood welcomed the project with open arms. Today, the crisis residence offers people a safe transition between hospital inpatient care and independent living.
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Every Minnesotan can help end the stigma
Local nonprofit Sisters Camelot stepped up to offer a community garden across the street so people staying at the crisis residence can participate in therapeutic gardening. A bike shop just down the block, Full Cycle, offers free bike rental for exercise therapy and transportation to medical appointments.
Brad, one of the first patients at hospital’s crisis residence, said the neighborhood’s embrace of the program has made him feel accepted when others’ reactions to mental illnesses are not always as understanding.
Before his stay at the crisis residence, Brad had been through many treatment centers and hospitalized many times. “I would have probably left the hospital and been homeless,” Brad said, were it not for the stable housing option provided by the crisis residence.
Unfortunately, Brad’s story is not unique. Throughout the state of Minnesota, a shortage of treatment options for people with mental illnesses can cause a cycle of hospitalization.
Minnesota needs more housing for people with mental illnesses
For people experiencing or recovering from mental health crises, the crisis residence provides shelter, food and help transitioning back to living independently after full-time hospital care. Nurses, social workers and case managers staff the residence 24/7 and provide therapy, including gardening and bikes provided by neighborhood partners.
Program staff also help residents readjust to independent living by securing medical appointments, employment and housing. That means patients like Brad who would not have had a home after treatment are equipped with necessities to continue mental health treatment, ultimately breaking the cycle of mental health crisis that can lead them back to full-time hospital care.
With the neighborhood’s embrace, Brad says he plans to be the crisis residence’s first success story.