For our team at Galen Hope, #NOTONEMORE means many things. Not one more life lost to eating disorders is certainly a primary goal, and one that we take very seriously. We also feel strongly about helping to ensure that, as our friends at the National Alliance for Eating Disorders put it, “NOT ONE MORE precious moment is destroyed by this insidious disease.” But because of what we do at Galen Hope, and how we go about it, #NOTONEMORE also means:
NOT ONE MORE person slipping through the cracks on their path to wellness.
Community care isn’t new. One can look to the PACT methodology first popularized in Madison, WI in the 1970s for a model for how this can work. The Program for Assertive Community Treatment (or PACT) was envisioned to “ensure that the patient received all services needed to remain in the community and function optimally with the highest possible quality of life” (American Psychological Association). In this system, patients would have access to “a multidisciplinary team (including some combination of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and case managers) that was available 24 hours per day and provided services to the patient for an indefinite time” (American Psychological Association).
A Community For Integrated Wellness
There is a clear need to better support those recovering from eating disorders and other challenging mental health diagnoses (such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder), and others who may need additional help living in their communities for other reasons. This support can be needed in any number of ways—from dealing with finances to negotiating a re-entry to school after a medical withdrawal. Often an individual leaving eating disorder treatment needs support around things like cooking meals, or visiting a restaurant that has triggering connotations, or shopping for clothes that they can begin to feel comfortable in.
The end goal, as with PACT, is to help create success through support. Traditional treatment may briefly touch on some of these tasks in preparation for a transition out of a higher level of care, but doesn’t allow for the depth of support that is often needed to fully integrate these skills.
Families and friends, of course, can be a vital part of a person’s community of support, and should be considered as such whenever possible. We also know, however that know that sometimes people don’t have supportive families, or they may struggle asking for help from loved ones and friends. Even the most supportive of circles don’t always have the time and energy to dedicate to the many layers of support needed for patients as they work to recovery. The type of treatment support envisioned above, then, can become not just vital support for people who are recovering, but for their families as well.
Let’s re-envision a treatment paradigm that encompasses these types of support, that sets people up for success in ways that are often overlooked. A paradigm that might include assisting with self-care practices, helping a client find a volunteer activity in the community, or working with them on ways to create more order and organization in their environment. If an individual is struggling with executive functioning issues, and/or have a need for increased connections with others (often seen mental health conditions), the case management team will develop a protocol specific to them. What might it look like for provider and patient to work together to build routines and conditions that optimize effective problem solving and improve functioning in activities of daily living, self-care, and academic/vocational /social experiences?
Too often the process of stepping down treatment levels, or leaving an inpatient or residential environment can be very jarring to a patient, and those processes of getting better can stall at that stage—better, but not well. This is where programs centered upon assertive community treatment can provide what patients need most—support, integrated care, personalized treatment plans, and long-term relationships with patients to help them get truly well.
The end goal of mental health or eating disorder treatment is not simple improvement—or even marked improvement. What meaning does that hold if it isn’t sustainable? Too many individuals and families see those improvements decline in the post-treatment void.
Not one more.
We need a clinical philosophy around helping patients to get well.
NOT ONE MORE eating disorder patient without a plan for WELLNESS.
Built from the ground up with this concept at its heart, Galen Hope’s treatment integrates the best concepts of residential programs, partial hospitalization programs, and community psychology in order to provide an experience that not only feels uniquely meaningful to the client, but also breaks the cycle of repeated hospitalizations, over-institutionalization, and isolation from community and family.
To us, wellness involves (at least) finding a place in the world, forming connections, and developing meaning and purpose in life. This involves getting better, certainly, but also remaining better, learning mindfulness, developing self-compassion and self-awareness, breaking destructive habits, managing and healthfully navigating trauma, and finding a community of love and support.
The Galen Hope experience is unique in that the treatment milieu is comprised of other clients, the staff, and the community at large. It is the synergy of these three components that creates the backdrop for the sound clinical services and strong behavioral supports and expectations that lead to an unlocking of the mental illness and the unfolding of the healing process. To learn more, or to join our community for integrated wellness, please CONTACT US TODAY.