PIQUA — The Piqua YWCA hosted a local coordinator from SafeHaven, Inc. to speak during their YWCA Connections luncheon on Thursday to talk about how they are serving adults in the community in need of mental health support.
Tricia Stemen, recovery coordinator with SafeHaven, Inc., went over their services and how they provide a second home for those in need of mental health support, including providing their mental health clients, also referred to as mental health consumers, structured days of free support groups, education classes, and fun activities; free daily lunches; and free transportation to and from their services.
Additionally, SafeHaven offers a payeeship program where they help make sure their mental health consumers pay their bills, like for rent and utilities, if the mental health consumers are unable to keep track of their bills themselves.
“We’re the only ones that I know of that do it for free,” Stemen said.
SafeHaven serves approximately 65 people a day at their Piqua location, whereas they used to serve approximately 20 people a day approximately 14 years ago.
Stemen, who studied law enforcement in college and has spent approximately 14 years in the social work field, said that adjusting to providing mental health support through SafeHaven was a learning process at first for her.
“It’s a whole different beast,” Stemen said about mental health crises. “They are really living in crisis all the time.”
They also provide evening HOPE-Line phone service at 937-451-3232 or 1-855-276-HOPE that is maintained from 4-11 p.m. by other mental health consumers.
“I’m super proud of them for what they do,” Stemen said.
SafeHaven also employs mental health consumers for some of the part-time roles at their locations as either stepping stones to gaining employment outside of the organization or for long-term employment at SafeHaven. This provides the mental health consumers with an employer who understands their capabilities and if they need a mental health day. One of their long-time employees is someone who has multiple college-level degrees, but got sick in his or her 30s and has since lived with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
“It offers a lot of other people hope,” Stemen said. The other mental health consumers see that it is possible for them to get jobs for themselves.
SafeHaven receives over 90 percent of their funding from the Tri-County Board of Mental Health, but they also receive some funding from United Way of Miami County and through grants.
Recently, SafeHaven was able to take approximately 23 of their mental health consumers on a camping trip due to a grant. Stemen said that experience was one of the best experiences in her life and that it was humbling to go on a camping trip with a number of people who had never had the opportunity to do so before.
“It was just so much fun for them,” Stemen said.
Stemen said that she is currently working on applying for grants for new vans for the organization. The vans that they use have over 250,000 and 380,000 miles on them.
Coming up next week is their Thanksgiving dinner that they provide to their mental health consumers. People from the community volunteer to serve their mental health consumers restaurant-style. “We seat them, and people from the community serve them,” Stemen said.
SafeHaven also accepts donations for coats, hats, gloves, socks, underwear, and sweat pants.
They have locations in Miami County at 633 N. Wayne St. in Piqua, in Shelby County at 1101 N. Vandemark Road, and in Darke County at 322 Fair St. in Greenville.
For more information, visit safehaveninc.com.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org