FARMINGTON — Peer mentors
This is done through connecting them with peer mentors — people who have experienced mental or behavioral health challenges in their own lives. The peer mentors ask questions and provide a list of options for assistance.
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For people who don't have insurance, they have helped connect them with providers who work with uninsured patients and have also helped qualified clients get onto Medicaid.
While they are there to guide clients through the process, they don't physically fill out forms for the clients or make appointments for them. Velasquez said they want the clients to feel comfortable doing that work for themselves.
In January, the
“There have been quite a few success stories,” Holladay said.
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She highlighted a client whose prescription had ran out and could not get an appointment with their healthcare provider. Holladay helped him find a provider who could see him the same day and get him a refill of his prescription.
“It’s nice when you get a client who will call or come by and say thank you,” Holladay said.
Beyond mental illness
While the focus is on helping connect people with resources to treat substance abuse or mental illness, they often find themselves assisting in other ways as well.
Holladay had a client come in who was unemployed and looking for work. When she heard about a store that was hiring, Holladay informed her client, who applied for the position and was then hired.
Housing and food insecurity are two of the main areas where they have helped clients, including instances where clients have needed help applying for food stamps. In those situations, the peer mentors research what services are available in the community and what their clients need to do to qualify.
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“If you suffer any kind of setback at all, it can snowball,” she said.
One client was released from the detention center on a probation hold, but had nowhere to go. The client visited the
“That saved him from being homeless and falling back into the same behaviors,” Hodgman said.
Ending the stigma
Hodgman, Velasquez and Holladay all emphasized the need to reduce the stigma around mental health.
“Everybody should feel okay to be able to talk about it and ask for help,” Holladay said.
Velasquez emphasized that “it’s okay not to be okay.”
Hodgman said people from all socioeconomic classes can struggle with mental health and substance abuse.
“It’s the same for those who have everything and those who have nothing,” she said.
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