Learning about Mental Health Assessment and Placement Services by ECCM
The CDC underscores the importance of learning about mental health, recognizing signs of mental illness, and addressing mental health issues: "Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States."
It goes on to point out that:
- 1 in 25 of us is already living with a serious mental illness.
- Within any given year, 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness.
- 1 in 5 children has already had or is now coping with "seriously debilitating mental illness."
Those numbers make the current push to break the stigma surrounding discussing mental health all the more urgent. After all, recognizing that we need help to better cope with the causes and effects of mental illness is only the first step. The next step is to seek out that help without fear of being stigmatized.
Well, the great news is that a lot of help is out there for each of us to access. What many people have discovered, however, is that wading through all the available services and supports to find the ones that best suit your unique needs can be overwhelming and possibly distressing, too.
In this post, we'll cover how ECCM coordinates accessing the varied supports and services available to those dealing with mental health issues and their families.
Mental Health Screening and Assessment
Getting children and their families the mental health assistance they need begins with the capable services of ECCM's Screening and Assessment department. It is a four-step process that keeps the individual we are assisting and their family at its center.
1. Receiving referrals and initiating first contact.
These referrals include persons dealing with mental health issues and persons for whom the issue may be drug and/or alcohol related.
Some of our referrals are wards of the Office of Children & Youth or Juvenile Probation, and in those cases, we meet with the child to introduce ourselves and inform them of what we do before we proceed.
2. Finding out from you what path you want to take.
An essential part of what we do at ECCM is learning about our clients' mental health goals. Ultimately, those goals will determine the choice of available supports and services that will work best for you.
Before we begin any mental health screening and assessment, we encourage you to tell us your story and your experiences thus far. We take into deep consideration what you would like to change and how.
3. Conducting assessments, making referrals, and ensuring seamless entry into services.
Here, we take one of two courses of action, depending on the assistance we have been asked to provide. We either:
- Request to do a full mental health assessment with the family.
- Recommended a service for the family to consider and make a referral for that service once the family consents to it.
4. Staying involved during implementation and beyond.
We remain involved during the implementation of the family's mental health plan — if the family consents to us doing so. We ensure they are connected with the recommended services, and we are always available to offer our support again in the future.
A Representative Payee is an individual or organization appointed to receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on behalf of someone deemed cognitively or physically unable to manage or direct the management of their benefits.
The Representative Payee program at ECCM handles the financial affairs of around 200 persons living with serious and persistent mental health conditions. We work closely with each program member to help them achieve financial stability through budgeting and managing their monthly expenses.
High Fidelity Wraparound Services
High-Fidelity Wraparound (HFW) is an individualized approach to planning, developing, and implementing care plans for children with significant behavioral, mental, and emotional challenges. The program is:
● Culturally and linguistically competent
HFW is aimed at helping those in greatest need in the least restrictive settings. That is, without using residential or out-of-home services but instead keeping these youth in their familiar settings (home, community, and school) while the processes of intervention and strengthening the family's skillset to cope and move forward are taking place.
We continuously liaise with the family and each service member and support team member. We also constantly monitor, acknowledge, and celebrate the family's progress and achievements in the program.
Forensic Case Management
Forensic case management at ECCM is an intensive program aimed at helping persons with a mental health diagnosis who are or have been involved in the criminal justice system. After release, these persons may be in the county jail system or community re-entry centers.
The program seeks to prevent a return to the system by helping individuals organize their lives, develop new perspectives and coping strategies, and ultimately avoid future delinquent behavior.
A forensic case manager works closely with the individual and community services to ensure the individual receives all available information, mental health services, support, and resources to help them avoid a return to the system.
The Forensic Case Management program at ECCM includes:
- Needs assessment
- Setting recovery and wellness goals
- Developing individualized discharge plans
- Life skills teaching
- Coordination of mental health services
- Accessing relevant community resources
- Preventing recidivism
- Coordinating and tracking progress in all aspects of the program
Homeless Persons Behavioral Health
According to the American Psychological Association, "Rates of mental illness among people who are homeless in the United States is twice the rate found for the general population."
The Homeless Persons Behavioral Health team at ECCM assists persons who are either currently or in danger of becoming homeless and facing a serious mental illness. Some of our clients are persons who:
- Reside in emergency shelters.
- Live In places not fit for human habitation.
- Currently exist in "doubled-up" living situations.
- Are being evicted.
Our case management approach for homeless persons with serious mental health conditions who meet these criteria aims to allow them to live a more dignified, routine life. They may need assistance with housing, treatment, job seeking, and establishing social support networks.
Shelter Plus Care
ECCM is committed to helping homeless persons, persons in chronic need of housing, and those affected by mental illness or substance abuse regain control over their lives.
Shelter Plus Care specifically targets homeless individuals with disabilities and families headed by someone struggling with a disability, such as mental illness, drug addiction, or alcohol addiction. It links housing assistance with supportive services to help those in need to:
- Have a stable housing situation.
- Experience the dignity that comes with housing stability.
- Better care for their mental health.
- Gain control over their addiction.
- Increase their income through improved employability.
- Become more self-sufficient.
HUD provides Shelter Plus Care funds as grants to assist with housing. Once persons willingly participate in the treatment programs, they must participate.
ECCM strives to reach these persons in the communities we serve and help them access the housing and treatment assistance they need to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families. We do this through the Coordinated Entry approach - which we will look at next.
Coordinated Entry gives all persons amid a housing crisis a fair and equal opportunity to access housing and assistance based on their assessed strengths and needs.
Potential beneficiaries are quickly identified through the Coordinated Entry approach. It also allows for streamlining of assessment for eligibility for housing and assistance, as well as the processes by which we make referrals and connect clients to housing and treatment solutions.
Thus, Coordinated Entry empowers the homeless with a person-centered, system-wide response to their needs. It does this by:
- Standardizing the assessment of applicants' housing needs, vulnerability, and preferences.
- Monitoring available resources to ensure these are used most equitably.
- Prioritizing beneficiaries' access to available services, beginning with those with the most severe need.
ECCM is Here to Help
Our mental health impacts every aspect of our lives, including relationships, sense of self-worth, and physical health. Reaching out for assistance is natural and commendable when mental illness lowers or threatens to lower our quality of life.
ECCM has spent many years interacting with and learning about our region's mental health supports and services. We can help take the stress out of finding the help you need and get you and your family back on track to enjoying your lives to the maximum.