Mental health issues such as schizophrenia, bi-bolar disorder, and major depression are real, biologically-based conditions that are no one’s fault. The courageous individuals we serve are part of a sobering national picture: 50% of individuals who are chronically homeless are experiencing mental health issues, hundreds of thousands of men and women are incarcerated due to acting out when untreated, thousands of loved ones take their lives each year, and 70,000 individuals are in state psychiatric hospitals.
These individuals don’t deserve to be ignored.
Step Up on Second, a 501(c)3 organization, began providing psychosocial rehabilitation and support for thirty years, when a woman’s deep love for a family member caused her to take action and create Step Up on Second. Searching for services and finding very few, founder Susan Dempsay had no choice but to start a center in 1984 that offered the services she could not find anywhere else.
Her vision included a supportive environment with productive activities, including art therapies, supported employment training, coping skills, service coordination, and a sense of belonging. Family members accessed help through support groups that met every month. Initially, Step Up served approximately 10 individuals a day and offered a limited number of services.
What started humbly in a warehouse shell in Santa Monica is now a thriving community agency serving over 1,800 individuals annually and providing 100 permanent supportive housing units at Step Up on Second, Step Up on Fifth, Daniel’s Village, Step Up on Vine, Michael’s Village, and The Tammy. Today, over 100 individuals are seen daily and offer over 22 different programs address the issues of the entire individual and provide a continuum of care, all free of charge. In short, Step Up offers Help, Hope, and a Home.
Step Up provides Help, Hope, and a Home for individuals, families, and communities experiencing mental health issues, and young adults who have experienced trauma and are at risk of developing mental health issues, and their families through 3 core strategies:
Help: Provide members with supported education, rehabilitation, healthcare, social, and employment opportunities that support recovery, self-sufficiency, and achievement of self determined goals, and integration into the community.