Philosophy and Mission of Community Support Services
The purpose of Community Support Services is to maximize the ability of adults with severe mental illness to live in the community, to accomplish personal goals, to obtain the very best level of recovery possible, to take charge of their rehabilitation goals and to maintain optimal functionality over the life span. Community Support Services are based on the belief that individuals with severe mental illness have the right to the best possible care, the most independence possible and the right to self-determination. We recognize that, although a person's difficulties may be severe and vary over their lifetime, symptoms can be lessened and abilities to function can be increased with the support of our services that focus on recovery and rehabilitation. Individuals cannot always be provided services by their family or within the community without an on-going, comprehensive service delivery program to assist them. The role of the Community Support Worker is thus to facilitate optimal continuity of care and to ensure an effective and efficient service delivery system for the person regardless of the setting or circumstances.
The mission of the Community Support Services is to maximize the functioning of the severely mentally ill adults in the least restrictive environment possible and ensure continuity of service. Services are coordinated, comprehensive and integrated over time as well as responsive to ongoing changes in consumer's needs and preferences. This is accomplished by actively collaborating with the consumer through providing a wide array of treatment services with a recovery and rehabilitation focus and one that puts the consumer as the primary force for change, and by assisting the consumer in building growth enhancing and facilitative community support networks. Community Support Services are provided in the setting best suited to reach consumers needs with an emphasis on home based community support.
Consumer Information and Participation
Information regarding the Community Support Services Program and its available services is disseminated in a variety of ways such as a program and agency brochures. These are made available to persons visiting the Community Mental Health Center of Lancaster County and are using community presentations and information sharing opportunities. The Community Support Services program is included under the CMHCLC listing in telephone directories and local service provider directories. Program information is provided to community agencies, to the Department Of Health and Human Services of the State of Nebraska, to community treatment providers and support organizations on an as-needed basis.
Consumers are involved in all aspects of their rehabilitation and recovery when using Community Support Services. From the beginning, each consumer is encouraged to set his or her own goals and to move at a pace that is comfortable for them. At times, as with court commitment and guardianships, it is necessary to assist the consumer who is not ready or able to articulate his or her own goals. The focus of developing a relationship of trust and caring with the consumer assists the person in developing motivation and stability and progress toward meeting recovery goals over time. As much as is possible, goals are developed and written in the consumer's own words and progress on those goals are assessed periodically with appropriate adjustments made to the recovery plan. In addition consumers are asked to participate in service and program evaluation through completing consumer satisfaction surveys, through use of suggestion boxes, through direct involvement of consumers within the agency and through efforts toward building peer support functions.
The Community Support Worker provides opportunities for consumers to learn about their mental and physical illnesses, to learn about the services and benefits available for them and their families, and to learn about the purpose and function of the Community Mental Health Center in addition to other rehabilitation and recovery options in Lincoln and Lancaster County. Community Support Workers are highly trained individuals who have the aptitude, skills and compassion needed to establish effective working relationships with the consumers for whom we provide service.
The Community Support Services Program serves adults aged 18 or older with severe mental illness who reside in Lincoln or Lancaster County. Consumers served by this program must meet the State of Nebraska definition of severe mental illness, which is defined as follows:
The person has a primary diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Major Affective Disorder or other major mental illness listed under the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as published by the American Psychiatric Association. In addition, they must meet the criteria for severe mental illness is defined by the Nebraska Department Of Health and Humans Services as follows:
- the person has undergone psychiatric treatment more intensive than outpatient care and more than once in a lifetime.
- the person has experienced a single episode of continuous, structured, supportive residential care other than hospitalization for a duration of at least two months, plus two of the following five functional deficits:
- The person is unemployed, is employed in the sheltered setting, or has markedly limited skills in a poor work history;
- The person requires public financial assistance for maintenance and may be unable to procure such assistance without help;
- The person shows severe inability to establish or maintain a personal social support system;
- The person requires help and basic living skills;
- The person exhibits inappropriate social behavior, which results in demand for intervention by the mental health or judicial system.
For those consumers with a substance abuse problem that is beyond the scope of CMHCLC treatment resources, a referral will be made to an appropriate substance abuse treatment program for screening and evaluation and/or treatment. If available, treatment may be made available within the agency with a licensed staff member (LADAC/CADAC) who is qualified to provide assessment and treatment of dually diagnosed individuals.
Special Needs of Consumers
The Community Support Services Program maximizes efforts to identify and assist with any consumer special needs. Our agency stresses importance of cultural awareness across all program areas and CLS meets or exceeds those criteria. Throughout the initial assessment and the duration of services, staff are attuned to special needs of consumers and make every effort to accommodate special needs. Staff are encouraged take advantage of training opportunities within and without the agency to stay current regarding cultural awareness and the needs of special populations.
Individuals who present as aggressive, suicidal or distructive receive prompt evaluation and intervention. In this outpatient service, there is no use of seclusion or restraint. Emergency assistance can be sought through contact with law-enforcement or through our 24 hour emergency response services received through the CMHCLC Emergency Services Unit.
The Community Support Staff consists of a Program Manager, Licensed Psychologist, six Program Coordinators and seventeen Community Support Workers who are hired as Mental Health Specialists. We currently have a Peer Support Worker recently hired. The staff of Community Support Services are highly dedicated and professional service workers whose purpose is to facilitate effective recovery for our consumers by establishing and maintaining collaborative working relationships with th people we serve.
Our staff are highly effective at helping consumers establish personal focus towards recovery and are proficient at providing rehabilitation focused treatment, the purpose of which is to help the consumer meet or exceed their recovery goals. Our staff also take pride in our service provision efforts via continued service coordination with other agencies, programs and systems designed to help the consumer reach her/his recovery goals. In addition, we provide support and help to families via our Family Support Group and provide additional services through our Independent Living and Transitional Living Programs.
Access to Community Support Services
Access to our program is coordinated by a Mental Health Clinician who has extensive experience with managing our referral list, with screening referrals to our program and with follow up for those consumers who meet criteria for acceptance into Community Support Services. Currently this person is Carol Petersen, L.I.M.H.P., who can be reached for information about our program at 402-441-7940, as well as to discuss criteria for admission or for making a referral for service.
Discharge From Community Support Services
Discharge planning is provided through ongoing assessment and dialogue with the consumer from the pretreatment assessment on word. As consumers demonstrate increased independence, communities for workers change the focus from dependence on the program to other supportive alternatives here within or without the mental health Center.
Consumers are discharged from service coordination when:
- All treatment goals have been reached to the satisfaction of the consumer, treatment team, and the community support worker.
- The consumer indicates that he/she no longer needs and/or wants our services.
- When the consumers needs move beyond the scope of what the program provide, or,
- When a consumer moves away from Lancaster County.
Although the consumer may be discharged from Community Support Services, this does not preclude the consumer receiving other services within CMHCLC. If the consumer indicates he/she no longer needs or wants our services, or if the consumers needs move beyond the scope of what the program can provide, every effort is made to provide appropriate referrals to services within Lancaster County.