Sandra's Story - In Recognition of Mental Health Month

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As a young woman, Sandra worked two jobs to make ends meet and live on her own.  At times, she knew that she was feeling more tired and irritable than normal, but she assumed it was due to the pace of her lifestyle. 

Over a couple of years, her stress and fatigue transitioned into mental health issues that left her paralyzed in bed most days of the week.  Concerned about her wellbeing, Sandra’s family assisted her in accessing her community’s behavioral health services in order to find some supports.  Sandra also moved into her sister’s home as a way of ensuring that she would get the treatment and care she needed.

After a couple of months of therapy and medication, Sandra seemed more stable. She was ready to move into her own apartment, but her family expressed concerns about how she would cope.

Her care provider at the behavioral health program offered Sandra an option.  With the support of a Transition to Community Living waiver, Sandra could receive a Personal Emergency Response System to call for help if she needed immediate contact with someone.  The funding would also pay for a medication dispenser to ensure that Sandra received the correct medication dosage at certain times of the day.

With changes in Medicaid funding as a result of the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) final rule, states are developing waivers to support the transition of people with mental health issues into more independent community living.  With these waivers, individuals can access enabling technology that supports health and wellbeing without the need for 24/7 staffing in the home environment.

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Two years later, Sandra continues to live independently in her own apartment.  She is committed to accessing her treatment services and works part-time in her community.

“I am so glad to have these tools in my home.  It helps me feel safe but also lets me learn how to better take care of myself.  Just because I have a diagnosis doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have options.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  If you are interested in learning more about Medicaid waivers or technology that supports community living for people living with a mental health diagnosis, please contact us via the "Request More Information" form on our website.

To learn more about the SimplyHome technology services mentioned in this blog post: Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) and automated Medication Dispenser.

To research the funding available in your state, you can go to the Medicaid website for waivers. You may also want to read our blog post "Does My State Have Funding for Enabling Technology?"