NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The holiday season is cheerful, but for some, it can also be difficult. Thankfully, a new support team within Metro Social Services is helping people struggling with mental health issues.
Within the last year, Metro Social Services created a special team of staff members to help with specialized cases needing mental health support.
“The majority of people that are experiencing homelessness, we’ve noticed [we] have some type of mental health challenge,” said Brandi McAninch, a senior social worker with Metro Social Services. “We were just seeing a lot of people that were just destitute, that were homeless and had been turned away from other agencies that just had a lot going on, so we just felt like that would be a perfect marriage of being able to provide that one-stop shop of when they’re needing assistance and really have nowhere to turn to that we’ll be here to help them.”
The services offered include case management, help with applying for disability, and finding housing among others.
“On average for this calendar year, we have a total of six people that we’ve helped so far. We’re looking at doing services that are a lot more intensive than your regular case management that we have here, just because their needs can be such a variety of things.”
Staff said with the holiday season here and colder temperatures in sight, they’re anticipating an influx of people experiencing homelessness reaching out for support.
“Especially for those that also have mental health challenges, a lot of them obviously don’t have somewhere to go, some of their families aren’t living, and we see a lot of increased anxiety, increased depression,” said McAninch.
The agency is still working to get over the hurdle of staffing the support team. Moving forward, the goal is to hire a behavioral health professional who can prescribe medications and finalize other partnerships with community mental health agencies that can help to streamline cases that they take on.
“We’re in the process of developing a referral system that makes it more streamlined to where we can refer to them and they can refer to us,” said McAninch.
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If you or someone you know could benefit from this type of help, you can call Metro Social Services at 615-862-6432.