JUSTICE IN MENTAL HEALTH ORGANIZATION

Outcomes of JIMHO

JIMHO provides an alternative case management system for individuals who suffer from a mental or emotional illness. JIMHO employees and board members are all people who suffer from a mental or emotional illness having been or currently are recipients of mental health services.

The following are a few examples of how JIMHO has assisted people in the past: 

 

JIMHO was contacted by the social worker of the Carson City Mental Health inpatient unit, to assist a gentleman with getting back to Lansing and into a local shelter. The man was very thankful for someone like himself who also has experienced hospitalization. He specifically pointed out, that the only other alternate available to him was to ride in an ambulance for the fifty-five mile trip back to Lansing.

 

He said that an ambulance ride is very cold and impersonal if you are not in need on emergency medical treatment. He then asked if he could go to the Drop-in center to visit and see the place for himself. When he saw the Center and talked to a few of the people that were visiting the Drop-in, he said that the Drop-In feels like a home-style environment. Like, dropping in on your family.

 

During the course of the following week, the gentleman came to JIMHO every day. He said by his coming to the Drop-in, it was a lot easier to tolerate the shelter where he spent his nights. He kept coming and partaking of the happenings at the JIMHO Center.

 

He offered support, encouragement to others who dropped in, and he offered his skills and many wonderful talents to enhance the Center. This gentleman became an important volunteer with JIMHO, creating many wonderful greeting cards, posters, business cards and other illustrations for the former JIMHO business.

 

The gentleman soon began working with the CMH homeless program, JIMHO, and other housing and shelter agencies, seeking more permanent shelter. He said that “JIMHO is family.”
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A lady that frequented the JIMHO Center was homeless off and on for a number of years. Through the support received at JIMHO, she since obtained Supplemental Security Income with JIMHO’s and the CMH outreach teams assistance.

 

The woman was very shy when JIMHO began working with her. She had problems relating to males. Eventually, she began to “borrow” time on our computers to write letters, make illustrations and look up information. A few years ago the lady would not have asked for help in any situation.

 

She had asked JIMHO for advice and help to winterize her apartment. In the past, she would have left her apartment and lived on the streets rather than ask her landlord to check any thing in her apartment. She said that any time you talk to a landlord, the first response from them is that they have not raised the rent in a long time. The statement was true.

 

We watched her blossom into a self-confident person and she became more involved in her community. Now instead of asking the landlord to make repairs, she is confident to make some repairs herself with JIMHO’s advice and encouragement.
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A man that moved to Lansing from Flint to be closer to his children, has said, “Many times my children are too busy to talk or visit.” “Thank God for JIMHO, he said. “If JIMHO weren’t here, I would be alone in my apartment for several days at a stretch.” Being alone or lonely has been the most often cited reason as why do people come to JIMHO.

 

This man said many times that he had to make himself get out of his apartment. However, he says that when he gets to the Drop-in, he knows that his depression will dissipate thanks to the people there and the support he receives. Then he can enjoy a cup of coffee, conversation and then he can face going home and being alone again. In spite of his many physical problems that make it difficult for him to walk, and his constant battle with depression, he still makes it to JIMHO with regular frequency.
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Now, we must ask, “Why do eighty or so people come to the JIMHO Center every day, even when the temperature is minus twenty with a wind chill of minus forty below in early February?” (This was a few years back.)

 

The Answer: Because, they want to! Not because they had to. There is no mandate for people to participate in a drop-in center.  Eighty plus people each day attend JIMHO….VOLUNTARILY! This speaks to why a drop-in center is so effective.  Even if someone only wants to sit and do nothing all day.  That “nothing” is actually helping the person in their recovery. 

 

On that same cold blustery February day, we received a phone call from a business manager that worked in the Meridian Mall. The manager was livid about a lady that he saw in the mall, half frozen.

 

He knew the lady personally. He knew her when he was working for an AFC Home. He went on to say, every morning, just like clock-work, the home owner would make sure that the residents leave the home. Also, the homeowner would not let the residents return until late in the afternoon.

 

The mall worker was livid that this practice still continued. He was even more upset especially since it was such a cold day. Even public service announcements were made on radio and TV to keep pet animals indoors for their health’s sake.

 

He talked to the lady to see if she would come to the JIMHO Center until she could get back into the AFC home. He told us that he would get her a cup of hot chocolate and help her to a bus. He cared. The lady was one of the people that came to JIMHO that day.

 

In most instances, JIMHO has more contact and interaction with individuals than families, mental health workers, etc., because of the great relationships formed at the Center.  Through the peer and group support JIMHO folks assist each other with coping with a variety of issues and problems. Problems folks have encountered while living in the community. Daily living situations such as, but not limited to: 

  • Legal problems, criminal justice, social services, physical health and mental health services, housing, and employment.

Areas of problem-solving that JIMHO and JIMHO volunteers have assisted with over 10,000 separate individuals over the past thirty years have included:

  • Locating housing, locating food, locating clothing, furniture, accompanying people to court hearings, legal, medical and dental appointments, job interviews, etc.

  • Interactions with Department of Human Services, Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, Community Mental Health, and other human service agencies.

  • JIMHO works with individuals and their landlords to avoid evictions or intervene before that stage, assist individuals with learning or familiarizing with the public transportation system.

  • Providing information about community low cost and or free activities, vocational rehabilitation services, and mental health services.

  • Helping people obtain necessary identification, such as Drivers License, State Identification cards, Check Express Identification cards and or obtain copies of Birth Records.

  • Visiting hospitalized individuals with no family or friends in the area (when requested), who would otherwise feel isolated.

  • Providing peer support and peer counseling, support, positive role-modeling and a host of other services depending upon the needs of the individual seeking assistance at JIMHO.

JIMHO investigates and identifies alternatives to issues that clients of the mental health system have. JIMHO provides personal, peer support, assists in clarifying issues and problems for consumers in understanding and coping with problems.

 

JIMHO provides when called upon; information and assistance to agencies and courts on how to effectively assist their clients.

 

JIMHO provides consultation to Department of Community Health and Community Mental Health on their services they provide on consumer--self help efforts and consumer involvement, and crisis intervention.

 

Once an individual is in the mental health system they are there for a period of time. At times they do not have the opportunity to express their own thoughts or judgments. They are constantly supervised by mental health professionals. One must have an opportunity to break away from that atmosphere.

 

JIMHO is a guiding force in helping individuals accept themselves as individuals and not as “mental patients." Because society sees people with emotional and or mental health problems, they see only the behavior and not the pain that is within them. They see us as unacceptable human beings. JIMHO sees and acknowledges the pain because we have all been through it.

 

Mental health professionals and society most often concentrate on just the individual behavior. When this happens, creativity, intelligence and ability of those individuals are overlooked.

 

This causes people to feel they are second class citizens who will never function in the community. People in the mental health system have been used as products by the mental health professionals and private psychiatric system.

 

In addition, people’s ideas are often stolen by the professional community. There have been times where these ideas are twisted for mental health professionals to create their own programs and to apply and receive grants from state and federal governments.

 

When these ideas prove to be financially fruitful for the professional, and the mental health system, we again, are looked upon as not able to function without their services.

 

The Mental Health System and professionals do not have a cure for mental illness. We do not have a cure for mental illness.  We only know what works for us and what does not work. 

 

JIMHO was organized by individuals who have experienced not only the mental illness, but the illness of stigma within our society. We know what we feel, what we need, and what works for us.

 

The outcome of JIMHO is: empathy, not sympathy. Believing in our peers. JIMHO is ex-patient role models. JIMHO is open communication, loving support and coming out of the closet.

 

JIMHO is a reinforcement center for acceptance, respect, dignity, compassion and most of all a safe and healthy place to come where there are no mental health professionals observing our every move.

JIMHO is "Gentle Justice". 

 

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