These modalities have also evolved over the years and have become more recovery oriented. Compared to various wraparound, supportive, and assistive service programs, their age is beginning to show. The next generation of behavioral health leaders, however, tend to view these programs with the contempt reserved for “your father’s Oldsmobile”.
I am always fascinated by how easily authorities, who preach consumer/family choices and empowerment, within the recovery approach, are blithely able to eliminate such programs, because they don’t fit with their person conception of recovery.
As I write this, my organization is shutting down three group homes for people with dual MH/SA diagnoses and converting our day program into a part-time, time-limited resiliency program.
Gone is the volunteer club which allowed participants to fully engage with their community by working on local projects to benefit others. Gone is the hard won self-esteem created by working together in a community garden, which provided produce for a community kitchen, which fed the homeless. Gone is the opportunity for a peer support group that allowed for ongoing social interaction for many people whose natural folk-support system had abandoned or rejected them.
I am not arguing that we can’t do better than these modalities, but I am arguing that we need viable funded alternatives before we pull the plug. I feel like we are reneging on the promises made when we took people from state operated facilities and put them back in our communities. We risk people languishing in the community just as they previously did in institutions.