I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “meeting people where they’re at.” At Mental Health Connecticut (MHC), the phrase is spoken often in our values and also in how we deliver services.  For most residents in Connecticut who are living with complex health issues, where they’re “at,” literally, is their home and that’s where they wish to stay.

Through MHC’s in-home services program, Mental Health Concierge, we are seeing the needs of individuals and their families expand. A whole health approach is no longer “nice to have,” it’s essential. Luckily, private pay coverage for in-home care is also expanding, but we’re not where we need to be.

A burning question hovers each day over older adults worried about who will take care of their aging children who need to be at home, veterans, individuals with brain injuries, elderly living with social isolation, and many unique situations among families across Connecticut: How can we make this work at home?

We’ve learned that what individuals and their families need the most is peace of mind. Navigating the unknowns of someone’s complex health challenges and anticipating needs is as critical as the care itself.

When my team is successful, it’s because we have taken the time to get to know our participants and their families to understand not just what they need, but what they want to live a healthy, fulfilling life. The goal is always to stay at home and improve their quality of life for as long as they can, and we aim to help them do that. We help families coordinate care plans, provide at-home support, ensure access to all levels of care, and coordinate for change when and where necessary.

We believe it is our societal responsibility to ensure that we have the capacity to meet the needs that can be addressed to help individuals maintain a well-rounded life, in the residence of their choice, as well as addressing the needs of individuals who may be supporting their loved-one in home. Health organizations, institutions, and education programs alike must direct their focus to taking a whole health approach and finding ways to expand and fund these services.

MHC has decided to invest in our Concierge program to ensure its great work can continue, particularly in Fairfield County. For the first time ever, MHC participated in Fairfield County’s Giving Day, a 24-hour day of giving that took place February 24, and we are raising funds to grow Mental Health Concierge. As someone who sees the value of this unique service meet the needs of our friends and neighbors in Connecticut every day, we hope you’ll consider supporting MHC.

Ultimately, the delivery of care can’t happen without being supported in the process of helping individuals and their families meet their needs. Whether you yourself are aging in place or supporting who is, or you anticipate that you may in the future, it is important to develop a plan for care and know that these resources are out there.

Marisa Russo is the Director of Specialized Residential Services at Mental Health Connecticut/West Hartford.