October 5, 2023

The Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health has increased its commitment for Living Room Programs. Josselyn is a part of a statewide safety net program called The Living Room, which provides individuals experiencing a mental health crisis with services and support designed to reduce the need for psychiatric hospitalization.

At no cost to the guests, the LRP provides a safe and inviting space where individuals can calmly process the crisis event, as well as learn and apply wellness strategies which may prevent future crisis events.

The LRP is open seven days per week and 365 days per year and is staffed by a compassionate team of Peer Support Specialists who bring their own lived experience with mental health challenges to the role in order to provide empathetic support for guests.

“The grant has given the Living Room Program the resources to hire dedicated Crisis Therapists and give the Peer Specialist Team more crisis intervention training, simultaneous to our hours expanding,” said Living Room Peer Manager Nichole Gallup. “Our program’s goal is to divert crisis visits to the ER, offer community members a place to process mental health crisis events in a safe, warm, and empathetic space, and to increase education about offering peer support to our friends, families, and neighbors through these mental health events.”

“This grant is a testament to Josselyn’s dedication to quality mental health care and underscores the importance of the services the Living Room Program provides,” said Josselyn CEO and President, Susan Resko. “We are grateful to the Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health for making this expansion possible. And a special thank you goes to Harold Francke of Meltzer, Purtill & Steele for his pro bono legal advice regarding the zoning of The Living Room.”

An additional opportunity made possible by the funding is the ability to collect and implement guest feedback into the LRP space, shared Gallup.

“Some suggestions we have been able to incorporate is to add a designated group room, amend the garden, add more groups to increase engagement and variety every day, and increase the amount of groceries we can provide at the Living Room each week to offer life-skills groups including cooking and hygiene. Many of these changes have been recommended by our Living Room Peer Team and guests as ways to best help the communities we serve,” she said.

Gallup also emphasized the need for community outreach, explaining, “The grant will allow the LRP to expand more into the community at large. Lack of access and knowledge of Living Room Programs has been a huge barrier to service in the suburban areas. Going into the community with the LRP guests and Peer Specialist Team gives us the opportunity to build partnerships with emergency medical services, police, libraries, hospitals, and other community centers to bridge these barriers to accessible, free mental health crisis care,” she said.

The Living Room Program at Josselyn is located at 1779 Maple Avenue in Northfield. Find more information here.


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