News & Events

Notes from Our Executive Director, New Crisis and IRTS Center Moves from Vision to Reality

As many of you know, in 2016, in partnership with Scott County, Guild was awarded a planning grant from the Department of Human Services to plan for the development of a Mental Health Crisis Stabilization and Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) Center located in Scott County. This vision is becoming a reality.

The 2018 Minnesota Legislature approved partial funding for this project through state bonds. Many thanks to Mayor Janet Williams and Representative Drew Christensen, both from Savage, who worked hard to make this possible.

The need is clear. Scott County had a 96% increase in short-term crisis stabilization utilization from 2012 to 2016 and a 76% increase in need for IRTS services. Last year, Guild’s Residential Crisis and Treatment Center in South St. Paul (Maureen’s House and Guild South) were only able to accept 27% of people referred for services, due to a lack of space. In other words, 73% of people seeking crisis and IRTS services from Guild were turned away – not because they didn’t meet criteria – but because our beds were full.

Those who are turned away likely seek services elsewhere, and those lucky enough to find a bed often end up having to travel long distances. Others end up waiting for an open hospital bed, sitting in the emergency department or just going home where, often, the crisis gets worse.

The core of Guild’s mission is to provide integrated treatment and services in the community. Crisis Stabilization and IRTS are effective because individuals can work to integrate recovery into their everyday lives. Building another crisis stabilization and treatment center in Savage will provide services to residents who are in need – enabling them to find hope and healing near home with their personal support system close and accessible.

For Guild, this is an opportunity to meet a community-identified need and make a positive impact on the lives of individuals. This represents our Board’s priority to bring the services that Guild does well to more people. From a business perspective, expanding our Crisis and IRTS services represents an opportunity to create economy of scale, with no need to develop additional infrastructural support. Guild will lease the facility, owned by Scott County, and oversee the services, so there will be no capital expense.

We are looking for individuals to partner with to make this a reality, and we need your help. If you have interest in this project, please connect with George Broostin at development@guildincorporated.org

Needs include additional financial resources to assist with ramp-up costs, individuals who can open doors to potential funders or stakeholders in the Scott County region, and individuals who are willing to tell their stories about Guild to help us provide a warm introduction to our new community.

As always, we value your interest and support. Thank you so much for being part of Guild.

 

Julie Bluhm, Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 27, 2018

Targeted Case Management Creates Health through Individualized Support

Program Highlight: Meet the Targeted Case Management Team

Just out of jail. No housing. No insurance. No healthcare providers. Little support. That sums up the circumstances one person was facing when referred to our Targeted Case Management (TCM) Services.

It’s the kind of story Melissa Klein, Program Manager, hears from staff, and one she’s not forgotten. “It seemed like an impossible task to get the person reconnected due to numerous legal barriers, mental health symptoms, and cognitive functioning,” she says.

With no time to spare, our TCM team moved quickly, working together to:

• Find and secure temporary housing
• Coordinate a stay at a crisis facility
• Complete insurance paperwork
• Reconnect the person to healthcare providers
• Help them get back on medications

With the team’s ongoing support, the individual slowly gained stability. Hope returned. With time, hard work, resilience, and perseverance, the person is now:

• Living in an apartment
• Employed
• Volunteering
• Re-establishing relationships with family and their natural support system
• Experiencing life without further legal issues

Though TCM teams work amidst a “landscape of ever-changing services and available resources,” Melissa recounts weekly stories of progress, recovery, and hope. “Targeted Case Management Services help to create health by providing individualized support, advocacy, and access to necessary services and resources,” she says.

Without this kind of support, many would not be able to navigate the complicated system and get the help that they need.

Team members, including case managers and nurses, promote integrated care by placing emphasis on physical, mental, and chemical health stability. Staff monitors the progress of individuals continuously, linking them to appropriate support and coordinating resources with a goal of improving health and quality of life.

Melissa credits supportive and passionate staff members for the positive outcomes of the work: “I’m so thankful to be a part of this program and to see the significant impact the services make, the lives that are changed, and the hope that is instilled.”

More About Targeted Case Management:

Provides: access to housing, medical, social, educational, vocational, financial, and other services that may be necessary to address individuals mental and physical health needs.

Number of teams: 3; Bluebird, Dove, and Sparrow Teams

Counties served: Dakota, Ramsey, Hennepin, Anoka, Washington, Scott, and Carver

Accepts referrals from: Other Guild services, including Guild’s Community Access Services, and Dakota County

June 20, 2018

 

Plan to Expand IRTS and Crisis Services Progresses

In partnership with Scott and Dakota Counties, Guild Incorporated’s Executive Director, Julie Bluhm, has been working on a project to expand Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) and Crisis Services to the Scott County Region.

According to county representatives, the expansion would address significant community need. Scott County experienced a 96% increase in short-term Residential Crisis Stabilization utilization from 2012 to 2016 and a 76% increase in longer-term Intensive Residential Treatment Services utilization. Dakota County experienced a 44% increase in residents accessing short-term Residential Crisis Stabilization Services from 2012 to 2016.

Guild currently provides IRTS and Crisis Services in South St. Paul, but limited capacity means individuals who need services are often turned away.

The expanded services would be provided in a new building proposed for downtown Savage. The facility would be built and owned by Scott County with Guild Incorporated as the service provider.

Remarking on the project, Julie said, “An important part of our strategic plan for growth includes mutually beneficial partnerships and expanding our current services to areas that are under-served.”

Southwest News Media has been covering the project. Read the latest article.

We’ll bring you more as the project progresses.

May 30, 2018

Equilibrium (EQ) Youth ACT Services: Helping Young Adults Succeed

Program Highlight: Meet the Equilibrium (EQ) Youth ACT Services Team

“We wish the service would’ve been around sooner.” Kristin Sierra, team leader for our Equilibrium (EQ) Youth ACT Services, hears these words so often from the families that EQ serves, they echo in her mind.

Guild launched EQ Services in 2014 to meet a community need: bridge the gap between mental health services for kids and adults. “I was super excited about working on a team dedicated to youth,” Kristin recalls. “I’ve always wanted to work with the younger generation and with the family as a unit.”

Equipped with 8 years of experience on an adult Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team, in which she often worked with younger adults, Kristin helped to develop the team into what it is today: 9 multi-disciplinary staff, including psychiatry, nursing, individual and family outreach therapy, an alcohol and drug counselor, education specialist, and a peer support specialist, serving young people from 16 to 20-years-old.

The team intervenes in the early stages of mental illness with a goal of reducing the impact of symptoms to help youth transition successfully into adulthood.

EQ Pull Quote

“First, we just go in and introduce ourselves to the young adult and their family to build trust,” Kristin describes. “For a lot of them, their perspective is, ‘this is just another provider’, and it’s a scary situation.” We engage young people by asking what their goals are.” It’s a question, she says, many haven’t been asked before.

From there, the team gets to work. “We work all over the community,” Kristin says. “We’re in schools working with social workers and teachers on Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs),” if that’s needed.” The team also helps to coordinate routine medical and dental care. “Some clients haven’t been to the dentist for a long time by the time we see them,” Kristin comments. Limited access to transportation and mental health symptoms — leading to isolation and difficulty scheduling appointments — often pose barriers to care.

To address the experience of isolation and to provide education, the team recently started offering a group for those they serve to talk about mental health, chemical health, skill building, and how to better manage symptoms. The group goes a long way toward reducing stigma, too. “We’ve had quite a reaction from them knowing that someone in their age group also has mental illness,” Kristin says.

Though EQ Services have remained consistent since they began, team members have learned a lot about the children’s mental health system and available resources. And this year marks a significant turning point: many of the youth the team started working with — when the service began — turned 21 and have moved on to adult services. Commenting on his son’s recent transfer from the team, one dad expressed gratitude: his son has been able to stay in the community; he hasn’t been hospitalized; and he’s working full-time. His only regret — that EQ wasn’t around to help their family sooner.

“It’s very hard to see them leave,” Kristin admits of the clients she’s watched move on. “But it’s also a time of growth. All of the work that we’ve done together – the team and the client – that carries on. That’s what keeps me doing what I do.”

 

04/20/18

From Homeless to Housed: One Person and One Apartment at a Time

The conversations started, as far as Service Director Julie Grothe can remember, back in 2003. She’s been working to combat homelessness for a long time, and the years, admittedly, get a bit fuzzy. But, one number is still clearly etched in her mind.

Twenty percent. It’s the number that Julie, and other community partners working to end homelessness, kept coming back to. And for good reason: it represented the individuals they couldn’t seem to help. Multiple barriers – untreated symptoms of mental illness, addiction, criminal histories, and unfavorable rental history — were getting in the way. “Eighty percent of individuals were being housed,” Julie recalls. “But, that wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to see anybody homeless.”

Lots of talk ensued. The solution, the partners determined, was a housing program, with around-the-clock support. But, how would they do it? Could they really design a program that screened people into housing, instead of screening them out?

Julie was determined to find a way and, as it turned out, so were others. Guild Incorporated collaborated with Project for Pride in Living and Hearth Connection. And, in 2009, Delancey Apartments opened, offering 13 apartments for people experiencing chronic, long-term homelessness.

“When people live outside, they forget how to do certain things,” Julie says. “If you’ve been homeless for 10 years, you haven’t done housekeeping; you may not know how to budget for groceries because you’re getting food from food shelves and other resources; and you may not know what it takes to be a good neighbor.”

Leaving the homeless community and culture they’re accustomed to, and moving into an apartment requires significant adjustment. Some residents, Julie explains, sleep on the floor for months, despite having beds. Many feel lonely and isolated. Some are vulnerable to exploitation.

This is where the staff come in. “I have amazing staff that are dedicated and passionate about serving our residents,” says Vicenta Valero, Supportive Housing Services Supervisor.  “The attention and company that they are able to provide our residents is priceless. Being open 24/7 provides availability for residents who may be having a hard time feeling safe and cared for.”

In addition to front desk staff, residents have access to case management, nursing, employment support, and tenant navigation, which is instrumental for those who, after living at Delancey Apartments, no longer need supportive housing. “I’ve seen individuals stay for a year and move on to independent living,” says Vicenta.

Access to additional, integrated services and resources also helps in identifying and resolving issues that may be impacting a person’s ability to live and function in the community. Guild staff members were able to help one resident recognize and get treatment for symptoms of mental illness that were causing her to behave in a way that generated concern for people in her community. Once the symptoms were treated, the behavior stopped, and she was able to maintain her housing.

“What keeps me motivated is seeing folks who have been homeless for 10 to 15 years adjust and live inside,” says Julie. “This is especially true for folks who have been turned down for other opportunities and haven’t been able to make it anywhere else.” Vicenta agrees: “The residents remind me every day that hope is alive and well. I am humbled by their resiliency, perseverance, and genuineness.”

 

January 23, 2018

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