Ed King Has a Bright Future, Thanks to His Hard Work and Support from 1-Year-Old RMHS Momentum Program
Care Manager Rachel Leamon (left) stands with host home provider Shaun Jones (middle) and Momentum client Ed King (right) at the Rocky Mountain Human Services Denver office.
Ed King has been in and out of mental health institutions since he was a teenager because of his schizophrenia. As an adult, he became a patient at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan. With expensive medication to pay for, few personal belongings and nowhere to call home, Ed couldn’t leave.
But last year, he transitioned back into the community. That’s in part because when he was preparing to step out of the Fort Logan doors for good, he was given something that many people leaving state hospitals don’t receive — a choice.
Ed’s Care Manager Rachel Leamon, with the Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) Momentum Program, helped Ed meet and choose a host home provider. He picked Shaun Jones, a provider through Act of Kindness, because Shaun was young and relatable. Shaun said Ed’s former doctor at the institute saw him about a year after he left Fort Logan and was amazed at his progress. Ed’s most recent hospitalization there lasted six years.
“He was very happy for him,” Shaun said. “They never thought he would be able to rejoin the community.”
Ed is one of the Momentum’s very first clients. His story started five years ago when a social worker referred him to the Transitions Program, which at that time was run by another organization.
This month, Rocky Mountain Human Services celebrated its first year operating Momentum. Since July 1, 2018, Momentum has successfully transitioned nearly 200 individuals, including Ed, out of mental health institutions and into the community to start new lives. Of the Momentum clients who have been discharged from mental health institutions, more than 90 percent are stable in their communities.
Through Momentum, teams of mental health professionals partner with mental health institutions and other organizations to provide individualized support. Clinical social workers, known as care managers, and trained professionals, known as peer-bridgers, who have personal experience managing mental illness, identify and facilitate supportive services so clients can successfully thrive in the community.
The program’s success is in part due to the flexibility of funding, which allows patients leaving institutions to make important choices, such as where they will live and how they will participate in the community.
For example, Rachel said hospitals don’t usually provide individuals opportunities to decide where they will live when they are discharged from treatment. Sometimes, patients end up in new cities that are unfamiliar, because that’s where they were placed, making the transition more difficult. The Momentum Program funded Ed’s placement at Shaun’s house, allowing Ed to live where he wants.
“That’s what makes this program so unique,” Rachel said.
The Momentum Program was created to fill a need identified by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). Research shows that many individuals at state hospitals face significant barriers to discharge — factors such as income, availability of treatment and housing. Momentum works to remove these barriers with funding from CDHS and the expertise of the talented Momentum staff.
Momentum clients are children and adults with a wide variety of mental health diagnoses. Most are referred to the program by the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan, and many access funding through Momentum to meet their needs.
Each person in the program has his or her own unique hurdles. The Momentum Program provides individualized support, empowering clients to make decisions for themselves.
In Ed’s case, he struggled to find housing, and he couldn’t afford his expensive, specialized medication. He wasn’t connected to benefits, and he didn’t have many basic belongings to even get started in the community.
The Momentum Program tackled each of these barriers successfully, clearing Ed’s path toward his new future. The program secured him with everything he would need to start a new life, such as a bed, blankets, pillows and clothes. Then, Rachel connected Ed to Social Security income for financial stability. The Momentum program also helps pay for his medication, which is almost $800 a month and not covered by Medicaid.
Ed has not returned to a mental health hospital in over a year. He has his own room and a membership to a nearby recreation center, which means he can swim – his favorite activity. Before leaving the hospital, Ed hadn’t swum in years.
Thanks to the Momentum Program and his host home provider, Ed looks forward to a bright future, and lots of swimming.