When a loved one is hospitalized with a severe mental illness, their friends and family bear the heavy weight of fear and confusion. The team at the Lunder Family Alliance helps young adults and their loved ones navigate the uncertainties associated with behavioral health treatment by providing therapy, employment guidance, education, peer support and more. This past year, the Alliance expanded to reach even more community members in need.
In June of 2020, the Lunder Family Alliance team added a second location to expand services beyond Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook. The Alliance is now fully operational at 165 Lancaster Street in Portland. Now, patients and families who have been discharged from Spring Harbor Hospital, or are being treated at the MBH Portland clinic, or at Maine Medical Center’s outpatient psychiatry locations, are eligible to receive services through the Lunder Family Alliance.
Over the past year, during her son’s multiple Spring Harbor hospitalizations, Sherri Tripp has found a valued support system in the Lunder Family Alliance. At first, the Tripp family struggled to cope with, and understand, their loved one’s diagnosis. It was a challenge to navigate the abrupt change in their daily lives – both mentally and financially. Soon after her son’s first hospitalization however, Sherri was contacted by the Alliance program’s Family Navigator, Betsy Oakleaf.
Compassionate Care and Guidance
The role of a Family Navigator is to meet with families or individuals to provide information, answer questions, establish expectations, serve as a liaison to other Alliance services and, most importantly, empower families to navigate difficult mental health crises with strength and respect. With Betsy’s help, the Tripp family established a plan to get their son through critical care and begin his post-acute treatment and recovery process.
“Betsy was the most valuable resource we had during our son’s hospitalization,” Sherri shared. “She was the only person that was able to navigate our family during crisis mode, and I am not sure how we would have been able to cope without this wonderful program.”
The addition of the Lancaster Street location introduced a new community family navigator role to continue the work of the hospital family navigator upon patient discharge. As a result, the Tripps and other families like them will receive uninterrupted support throughout their journey to becoming whole again. Learn more about the Lunder Family Alliance.
Photo Top: Stacy Davis, Lisa Howell, and Tierney Lynch