How are you?
It’s the most frequently asked question with the most diverse responses. When asked with empathy and intention, this question can make an impact in someone’s life. Exploring one’s mental health could be both liberating and frightening at the same time. For some, the battle of processing current or past experiences can be overwhelming. Samaritan’s commitment to our guests is not only to meet their basic needs, but to help guide our guests through their physical, mental, and spiritual journeys.
Since 2018, we have partnered with United Health Centers, which provides free medical and behavioral care for our shelter guests. Every Thursday guests can meet with a doctor for diagnostic screenings and routine physicals. Dr. Lindsey Sachs, a Family Physician at United Health Centers, describes the medical clinic as a space for guests to receive consistent healthcare, eliminating barriers such as cost and travel.
“One of the great joys for me is forming those relationships especially when guests or residents transition out of Samaritan. Some have continued to see me as their primary physician both at Samaritan and at my regular clinic. It nice to be able to maintain those relationships”. – Dr. Sachs
Last fall, United Health Centers added a behavioral health component to their clinic. Kelly Wasson is a licensed clinical social worker who offers both group and individual counseling. “Our guests have experienced significant trauma in their lives, and experiencing homelessness can increase depression, anxiety or other mental health challenges,” said Jan Kelly, executive director. United Health Centers enables us to meet our guests where they are and keep them moving forward with their lives. Wasson shared, “I enjoy providing a safe place for Samaritan guests to come by to just talk or vent. We do a lot of problem solving, coping skills, and setting short-term goals to help guests adapt to new environments or prepare for any transition.”