Participants interact live and virtually.
Community Alliance; Learn more: https://community-alliance.org
For Community Alliance, action looks like using our experience serving individuals with mental illness to identify their unique needs and then take the steps necessary to address those needs.
Isolation and anxiety is a common experience for many with mental illness. Services such as Community Alliance’s Day Rehabilitation program are tools that help our clients face those challenges.
Unfortunately, pandemic related restrictions that limited social interactions, activities and travel further exacerbated the challenges of those we serve and deprived them of the interactions they relied on for support. The Day Rehabilitation Program was shut down for a period of time. In response, staff worked to stay connected to program participants through phone calls, wellness checks and printed resources, but it was difficult to sustain meaningful interactions.
Technology became the tool that the general public used to remain employed and stay connected with family and friends as well as therapists, doctors and other professionals. For many reasons, however, mental illness is an impoverishing disease and Community Alliance knew that many of our consumers lacked the hardware and connectivity to take advantage of resources, like video conferencing, that others use to keep in touch with their support systems.
In response, Community Alliance secured funding to purchase electronic tablets, with an initial period of cellular service, to give individuals the means to stay connected, not only with Community Alliance staff, but friends, family and other providers as well. Once the Day Rehabilitation program was able to reopen, staff adapted to provide both in person and virtual classroom experiences.
Staff in the Day Rehabilitation program report that the tablets and virtual classes have provided significant assistance in reaching out to those who are among the vulnerable. A client with significant history of trauma and homelessness went through the program’s orientation process but never felt comfortable attending classes in person. Since receiving a tablet, she has become among the most faithful (virtual) participants. One staff member commented: “The tablets have provided a great way to be in touch with our more isolated participants and help them continue to work on their recovery goals.”