Mental Health Month Q&A with Living Room coordinator Raechal Carroll

Raechal Carroll supervises the Living Room at the Rosecrance Ware Center, which provides a safe respite for many clients who utilize Rosecrance’s community mental health services. This assistance has been of great value as people struggle with added stress, anxiety, and grief during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this question-and-answer piece, she offers insights into Mental Health Awareness Month and resources available to individuals.

What sparked your interest in helping people who struggle with mental health issues?

I have always had a desire to be of service to others. My personal experiences and witnessing the difficulties experienced by others close to me inspired the direction of my education. I felt a need to better understand human behavior, the symptoms of various mental illnesses and the tools and strategies that help to promote recovery. My mother unknowingly led me to community mental health and Rosecrance. Despite her lifelong struggles, she always went out of her way to help others, particularly those experiencing homelessness or whose presentation made others wary of approaching. She instilled in me a core belief that everyone is deserving of kindness, respect and opportunity.

What mental health treatment and resources are available through Rosecrance?

Rosecrance offers varying levels of care based on individual needs and preferences. Services include: case management, group and individual therapy, medication management, crisis intervention, supported housing and peer support. Services are available to individuals ages 3 and up. As a community mental health center, Rosecrance moves beyond traditional office-based services and is able to provide care in the community, literally meeting individuals where they are at. These types of services are particularly effective for individuals suffering from more severe functional deficits related to mental health conditions.

Why are these services important?

Rosecrance and our staff offer a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to receive support and assistance. Our services are recovery focused and geared toward helping others learn to manage symptoms, improve functioning, build a natural support system, and access community resources to improve quality of life. Community mental health services help to promote awareness, reduce stigma and encourage inclusion and peer support.

How have these offerings helped the community, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic?

All of us have been impacted by mental health issues – either in ourselves or someone we know or love. Our community is still experiencing the long term impacts of COVID. Ongoing fear, uncertainty and isolation has taken a toll on so many. Reports of new onset depression and anxiety is on the rise and for many, the coping skills that had previously been effective were no longer an option.

Rosecrance has remained open and focused on finding solutions to provide safe, quality care despite COVID related obstacles. We have successfully done so. Our outreach teams, serving the most severely impacted individuals, have continued to see individuals in their homes and communities.

What would you say to someone who might be struggling with a mental health concern but they don’t know where to start?

Don’t delay, seek support. As with any form of illness, early intervention and treatment improve outcomes. Speak to your primary care physician, call the NAMI helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), call or stop in to the Living Room (1-815-720-4881). All of these are options to start a conversation about what you are experiencing and can provide information and referrals for appropriate programs and services.

How can we be more supportive of those who are struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders?

Listen. Ask what they think might help them. Provide support and reassurance. Educate yourself; work to learn more about what they are experiencing and consider attending a family support group.