While the pandemic certainly changed some things for RSI, it didn’t slow them down. Despite the pandemic, RSI saw 1,609 clients during fiscal year 2020, an increase of seven from the prior fiscal year. RSI Executive Director Matt Loehr says he is impressed with that increase. He gives a lot of the credit to his staff and the mental health centers that RSI partners with.
“We can’t be everything to everyone. We’re not an emergency shelter. But we do want to be able to serve clients who are in crisis,” Loehr says. “I was surprised and yet very pleased with RSI’s response to the multiple counties we serve and their needs.”
Loehr says RSI is always looking for better ways to serve clients and the community. Currently, when an individual comes to RSI for help, the triage team has two options: to admit or not to admit. Now RSI is looking to provide another option by introducing a psychosocial day program. It was originally slated to launch in February 2020, but the pandemic changed those plans.
“We want to work closely with our colleagues at the health department in monitoring COVID-19 cases in our county and making sure that we’re taking adequate precautions,” Loehr says.
The program will start on a small scale, serving as a possible step-down for RSI clients from Wyandotte County who need follow-up care. But Loehr has big plans and will be looking to expand the program to also serve individuals from RSI’s total service area, which includes Leavenworth, Johnson and Douglas counties. As the program expands, Loehr plans to accept participants to the program via direct referrals. Those individuals would not be required to go through triage at RSI to enter the program.
RSI’s psychosocial day program will utilize the evidence-based program “Seeking Safety,” which has been shown to be effective for individuals with PTSD and substance use disorder. The program will include lessons on self-care and identifying triggers, in addition to daily case management groups. The overarching goal of the program is to help individuals achieve safety in their relationships, thinking, behavior and emotions. A Qualified Mental Health Professional will lead the group.
This program is meant to be a short-term resource. Most individuals will spend 10 days in the program, which will run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Loehr and his team have put a lot of thought into this program, including finding a space that is appropriate and welcoming. A tranquil room overlooking a wooded area, with windows that span almost an entire wall, has been set aside to host program participants.
The individuals who come to RSI for help all have different needs. Loehr hopes this new program will be a step in the right direction as they continue their mission of continually finding better ways to serve the community.
“This program fills a gap for our clients who may not need residential care, but still need more intensive monitoring.”