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Severe and persistent mental illness can affect a person’s ability to function in daily life. But with the right help, there is hope.
Left untreated, conditions such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder can have severe consequences. Individuals with these illnesses may find it difficult to maintain personal relationships, live independently and keep steady jobs.
Careful intervention, counseling and support are the keys to changing that narrative.
Our Lady of Peace in Louisville, part of KentuckyOne Health, has an intensive outpatient program that provides help to those who are living with severe and persistent mental illnesses. These groups incorporate the recovery model, focusing on building resilience and coping skills to improve patients’ daily experiences and long-term well-being.
“There’s a definition of recovery that we use in the group,” said Heather Marcus, LCSW, intensive outpatient therapist at Our Lady of Peace. “We say recovery is a process by which a person overcomes the challenges presented by a mental illness to live a life of meaning and purpose.”
Peer support plays an important role in the group therapy process. The psychotherapy groups Marcus leads meet five days a week and welcome people at all stages of their recovery. Members of the group work toward learning ways to manage the symptoms of their illnesses while strengthening their relationships with friends and family.
“People can join the group on the same day that others are graduating,” Marcus said. “That helps new attendees see it is possible to make progress and feel better; graduates are examples of hope that recovery is possible.”
During and after the program, Our Lady of Peace offers supplemental resources for patients and family members to help ensure they maintain the positive momentum started in group counseling. These include a no-charge, after-care program that lasts six months after graduation, multiple on-site family support groups and a long-acting injection clinic to make it easier for eligible patients to receive their long-acting, anti-psychotic medication.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.
Our Lady of Peace offers a comprehensive array of clinical behavioral health services. For more information or for a no-charge assessment, call the Assessment and Referral Center at 502.451.3333 (Louisville) or 859.313.3515 (Central/Eastern Kentucky).