Staying close to home

Guest post by Life Management Center, a DCF-funded mental health facility in Bay County.

DCF Secretary Wilkins talks with Keith, a former FACT patient

Imagine being so sick that you are not able to take care of yourself and your family doesn’t feel capable of caring for you. You have to leave home for care for an extended amount of time. This happens every day for people with severe and persistent mental illness when their illness does not respond well to traditional treatments.

We often see these people sent to state hospitals to receive treatment far away from friends and family, sent to jail after committing a minor crime, or even homeless and on the streets without any help in sight. Wouldn’t it be better if we could help these people right in their communities where they still have the support of their friends and family? Wouldn’t it be better if they were able to function well enough to return to school or get a job? Of course it would!

With the help of several key stakeholders, Life Management Center of Northwest Florida is so pleased to be able to once again offer these types of services in Bay County. In January 2013 we will be able to reinstate a program called Florida Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) in our community. Through FACT we will be able to provide people with improved psychiatric care and supportive services that will help them rebuild their lives. From medication management to supportive employment services, these clients will be offered every support needed to get back on their feet.

We were thrilled to be able to recognize DCF Secretary David Wilkins yesterday for his part in making the funding for this program possible. While he has visited Life Management Center a few times over the last year, this time was different. With this visit, Secretary Wilkins had a chance to visit with Keith, one of our former FACT clients, who was quick to point out how much the program had helped him regain his independence. Sec. Wilkins was able to talk to him about some of the obstacles he had encountered while trying to get well, including the high cost of psychiatric drugs. Keith explained how the FACT program had helped him with those costs and other support.

The staff of Life Management Center is excited to be able to offer the FACT program again to our community members, and we look forward to helping people with severe mental health problems regain their lives.

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