Marion’s senior services are running a new department focused on mental health


A new initiative aims to show the quality of mental health care has no age limit.

Marion Senior Services (MSS) established a new department to promote mental health among seniors in Marion County. The Human Services department will focus on improving quality of life and crisis management skills by analyzing individual situations and finding areas for improvement.

The new approach aims to improve the services already offered by MSS, including in -home support and nutrition services, according to a statement. Jennifer Martinez, executive director of MSS, said the Human Services department was established to streamline the problem-solving process on issues often seen by MSS clients. These issues range from day-to-day tasks such as removing a client’s dishwasher or more complex endeavors such as helping a client move houses.

While a purely physical approach to solving these problems can solve immediate crises, Martinez said Human Services aims to find the root of these issues and provide lasting solutions.

“We are committed to a more dignified approach when it comes to mental health,” he said. “Looking at the mind, the spirit, the body, cares for man as a whole.”

The all-in-one approach will have many organizations across the state participate in elder care, including first responders, Adult Protective Services, and the Department of Children and Families. Martinez said Human Services ’goal is to streamline the assistance process through all relevant outlets, creating a more cohesive network of care.

Some of the more extreme situations MSS has seen occur outside the scope of their service, during what Martinez called “after hours.”

One incident involved a couple who fled their home on Friday at 5:30 pm with no relatives or friends to take them. Martinez was on the phone with a series of fires for an hour and a half in an attempt to find a niche to stay the night, and even though the issue was fixed, Martinez said taxing the mind in couples are cause for concern.

“I just imagine how they felt, sitting there not knowing what was going to happen to them or how they felt,” he said.

A collection of similar incidents is what inspired the installation of Human Services, Martinez said. By finding and correcting gaps within each organization, the department seeks to create a better system, which eases the mindset of clients who may experience uncertainty or stress under current practices. .

Human Services will also implement counseling services for their clients, connecting them with a licensed mental health professional to provide the necessary skills for daily living. Cassandra Jackson, MSS’s director of community care, said this provision was included after a more in -depth review of seemingly routine referrals.

Jackson said requests for assistance with homemaking, personal care, food and other daily activities have often become larger cases that require greater support.

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Self-neglect, the inability to meet basic daily needs due to physical or mental disabilities, has become a major issue in the aging community. Forty to 50% of cases reported to Adult Protective Services involve some form of it, according to data from the Public Policy Institute of AARP. Jackson said those who do not receive the necessary mental assistance may be at risk for self -neglect – something that, in turn, presents a serious health risk.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the growing mental health crisis already plaguing the United States, and according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, loneliness and isolation are common factors in the rise of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or sadness.

In the aging population, where many are isolated due to the high risk of infection, especially these feelings famous person.

Although extensive program reforms across the state are needed for broader care plans, Jackson said the solution to combating grief sometimes depends on something as simple as a phone call. .

Human Services has already begun offering this phone guarantee to clients, who Jackson said rely on the service for conversation and connection amid the pandemic. Although the calls involve more complex issues at times, Jackson said they are virtually “harmless” and offer an opportunity for clients to chat over a hearing.

The institution of the Human Services department is a step towards the overall goal of MSS to promote independent living for the elderly as much as possible. Although some clients are afraid to be burdensome to those around them, Martinez said the ability to live independently is impossible to achieve without help – something everyone should have at their disposal.

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. ”

Contact Heather at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hgrizzl.

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