Community mental health programs

Many organizations within the community provide information and services to people living with mental illness and their families. The government often contracts with non-profit agencies to provide mental health services. Programs that support people living with mental illness in the community include Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams, supported housing, supported employment, and mental health clubhouses.

ACT teams provide intensive rehabilitative in-home services to people living with a serious mental illness who live on their own or with family or friends. The team consists of a psychiatrist, case manager, and often a nurse for medication management. The goal is stabilization in a community setting and avoiding re-hospitalization.

The mental health clubhouse model provides a welcoming and caring environment in the community to support people who live with a mental illness. Services are comprehensive and address needs for employment, housing, education, friendship, and medical and psychiatric services. Mental health clubhouses help individuals know they are not alone in their recovery journey.

A variety of organizations at national, state, and local levels offer education and support to people living with mental illness and their families. They may be government or non-profit organizations that offer both face-to-face learning opportunities and online resources.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has a vast array of informational material, classes, and support groups. Their Family-to-Family class provides evidence-based education and support to family members. Co-facilitators, who also have a family member living with mental illness, provide education on mental illnesses, medications, and side effects; teach skills in building empathy, developing coping strategies, problem solving, and communication; and provide information on helpful resources in the community.

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