Daniel’s Place: Recent Developments and Achievements

December 16, 2013
Our goal at Daniel’s Place is to support the young adults who come to us as a refuge and a place of hope.  In turn, our remarkable, dedicated Daniel’s Place professional staff and Peer Advocates link them with needed resources (therapy, vocational services, case management, etc.) so that they can…

Our goal at Daniel’s Place is to support the young adults who come to us as a refuge and a place of hope.  In turn, our remarkable, dedicated Daniel’s Place professional staff and Peer Advocates link them with needed resources (therapy, vocational services, case management, etc.) so that they can continue on a pathway of wellness and recovery.

In the past year we have expanded the types and frequency of the support groups we offer, with additional 11 groups (total of 35 each week) which address the need for socialization, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, creative arts groups, movement therapy, drama therapy, job skills, wellness, recreation, and mindfulness.

We provide individual therapy to our members, including medication management and one to one art therapy.  Daniel’s Place parent and family support groups continue to provide a safe and supportive space for parents and families to connect with one another and learn tools for self-care, effective communication strategies to use with loved ones, and a wealth of community resources.

We are very pleased to report that Daniel’s Place recently received a major grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health on a grant that will allow Daniel’s Place to expand services to 7 days a week, expand the hours during which we are open, make hot meals available free of charge to our Daniel’s Place, and provide additional supportive services.

Daniel’s Place has been very pleased with the hiring of Emily DeFraites, MD as the new staff psychiatrist.  Dr. DeFraites brings many years of experience working with adults experiencing mental illness and has also shown her passion for working with young adults through her work with the UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Program.  Young adults who are newly diagnosed with a mental illness truly need a doctor who can explain the facts to them as well as instill a sense of hope and belief that they will get better and go on to achieve their personal life’s goals.  Dr. DeFraites has demonstrated this understanding and therapeutic alliance with her patients and has a keen understanding of the issues unique to this population. Having an on-site M.D. has proven to be critical to ensure case coordination with staff and families.  Young people are typically reluctant to take medication and need careful monitoring to detect effectiveness, side effects and compliance issues.

We’ve also opened Daniel’s Village — 8 units of a permanent supportive housing to help young adults who are battling with the initial onset of a mental illness lead more independent and self-sufficient lives.

An important goal in the coming year is to increase outreach and engagement efforts outside of the office by utilizing Peer staff at “non-traditional mental health agencies.”  By conducting outreach at youth drop-in centers, community colleges, high schools etc., we are attempting to reach out to youth who may be in need of services, but lack the knowledge of resources.  This is also a public awareness/education effort as there is likely some contact with people who have a loved one or a friend who does need services.

Step Up as an agency is continuing to expand its reach beyond our signature center in Santa Monica to other areas of the county.  Step Up has three new programs that are operating in Hollywood – and Integrated Mobile Health Team – HOST, and two Project 50 replication programs that will target both adults and youth who are homeless and in need of permanent supportive housing.  The newest of these projects, TAY Project 40, is a pilot program funded by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and will target 40 of the most at-risk youth on the streets of Hollywood.

Step Up has replicated its main center near the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Vine by opening “Step Up on Vine” – a 32 unit permanent supportive housing community that fulfills part of Step Up’s commitment to action in the Clinton Global Initiative by building 200 units of permanent supportive housing in Hollywood by 2014.  Step Up on Vine also has a full array of mental health and group services on it’s ground floor including a life skills coordinator who meets daily with tenants, meals for tenants, and a vocational training program.

We are proud to share with you these meaningful developments on behalf of hundreds of young people who have been Daniels Place members over the years.

We are especially grateful to you for making these achievements possible!

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