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News (Noticias)

Celebrating the Two-Year Anniversary of the Transition Specialist Program

A program that bridges the gap between treatment facilities and community living.

Hands holding each other in a supportive way.

Rocky Mountain Human Services’ Transition Specialist Program (TSP) is celebrating its two-year anniversary this month, April 2021, and we want to take a moment to recognize this transformative program and celebrate the amazing accomplishments that both the program and TSP clients have made. But first, let us introduce you to TSP.

The Transition Specialist Program, which is funded through a contract with the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Behavioral Health helps children and adults successfully transition from various substance use and behavioral health treatment facilities back into the community.

Individuals in the TSP program are guided and supported by two types of qualified specialists:

  • Transitions Specialists, who provide intensive, person-centered support to help individuals and their families identify their needs, define their goals and access appropriate resources.

  • Peer Bridgers, who provide unique support to clients based on their own experience with mental illness and/or substance use and recovery.

TSP’s mobile workforce allows for Transition Specialists and Peer Bridgers to work with families and clients in the comfort of their own homes and communities, as well as in hospital settings, Colorado Crisis Services, withdrawal management facilities and emergency departments. Since its inception in April 2019, the Transitions Specialist Program has successfully transitioned 130 clients from substance use and behavioral health treatments back into the community. Of those people, 93 percent say their TSP Transition Specialist and/or Peer Bridger is their personal support network -- the resource they would turn to in a crisis situation.

TSP Success Stories A notable TSP success story took place in August 2020, when a young woman who was recently released from a behavioral health center in El Paso County found herself homeless, pregnant and determined to regain custody of her 1-year-old son. But, to get her son back, there was one very big hurdle in her way – she needed a personal residence, and even with Social Security disability income, she did not meet the income guidelines for an apartment. But, through a housing voucher obtained with the support of Rocky Mountain Human Services, she was able to secure an apartment and move to Denver. From there, the TSP program stepped in to furnish her apartment and help her make her space a home for her, her 1-year-old son, and her newborn baby. In February of 2021, she regained custody of her son and has since successfully completed the TSP program. In another heartwarming story, a client and his mother began receiving support from TSP over the phone while he was being hospitalized for issues associated with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They had been working to set up services and secure housing after his hospital stay, and it wasn’t until TSP staff stepped in that they were able to contact the right mental health providers, put services in place and facilitate the client’s first ever move to independent living in his own apartment. From there, RMHS and TSP staff worked to furnish the client’s apartment with furniture, bedding, towels, pictures and more. To ensure the smoothest transition to independent living possible, TSP also paid the client’s rent for several months, and provided him with software and electronic equipment needed for him to do what he loved most – make music.

“I honestly don't know how we would have made it through this difficult year without RMHS,” said this client’s mother and caregiver. “Their incredible staff has been a positive force for [my son] and me throughout this year, and words cannot express our family's gratitude for their help.”

In addition to the direct client support that TSP provided, their dedicated Peer Bridger was also there to champion them along the way. “Kristine was also incredibly helpful as I was feeling exhausted and traumatized from this difficult year. She provided compassionate listening and support, yoga equipment and yoga instruction through the internet, which has really helped to reduce my stress level.”

These are just a few of the incredible success stories being told by clients in the RMHS Transition Specialist Program, and each one is a depiction of struggle, hope and triumph. So, we want to wish a very happy anniversary to each TSP Transition Specialist, Peer Bridger and staff member who make direct and lasting impacts on their clients’ lives every single day.

Exciting news: The TSP Expansion (SB21-1130) was passed by the Colorado legislature and signed into law on April 20th. The measure will expand the TSP referral criteria and will go into effect on July 1. To learn more about the Transitions Program at RMHS, click here.

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