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Making a Difference

"I am forever grateful for Spring Harbor Hospital, the staff, and now the family navigator that has helped me save my daughter's life and has been such an integral part of her recovery. She is now enrolled in school, has returned to work and her life is flourishing again."

Lunder Family Alliance for Young Adults

Work + Support + Education = Recovery

Lunder Family AllianceAdmission to a psychiatric hospital should be an opportunity, not a barrier, to a speedy recovery. That’s the goal of The Lunder Family Alliance at Spring Harbor Hospital. The Alliance is a unique, integrated program that addresses several of the critical challenges faced by many young-adult patients ages 18-30 – the loss of a job, the confusion and stress of a hospital stay, and their families’ need for information and support resources.

For more information about the Lunder Family Alliance at Spring Harbor Hospital please contact the Family Navigator at 207-661-6131.

A Parent's Story

Susan Stover spoke at the 2017 Signs of Hope fundraiser to tell the crowd about the support her family received from The Lunder Family Alliance after her son was hospitalized.

Lunder Family Alliance's Comprehensive Approach

The mental health system can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Members of the Lunder Family Alliance staff play very specific roles focused on the needs of the patient and the family during and after a hospital stay.

Families often face the burden of being the “shadow mental health system” – frustrated by dealing with people they no longer know and ill-equipped to deal with the frequent crises they face or illnesses they know little about.

Your loved one has their own social worker working with them while they are inpatient at Spring Harbor Hospital; the Family Navigator is a social worker dedicated to supporting you (the care-giver), during your loved one's hospitalization and for 30 days after discharge. Our goal is to eliminate barriers between a family and their understanding of the issues and changes happening in their lives.

The Family Navigator will:

  • Conduct a thorough assessment of the family’s needs
  • Work with patients and families to address any issues, fears or challenges
  • Provide one-on-one support, resources, and education for families to address concern
  • Provide a warm hand-off to the next level of care and outside care coordination
  • Guide patients and families through community resource options

Family members will be encouraged to participate in our family education curriculum to better prepare them in understanding and supporting their family member upon discharge and in the home. The Family Navigator will work also with families to create a curriculum based on their individual circumstances.

Family education topics will include:

  • Participants' emotion responses to the impact of mental illness on their lives
  • How to communicate with a family member's care team
  • What to expect after discharge
  • How to interact with a person during an aggressive or psychotic episode
  • How to de-escalate the behavior

There is no intervention more inclusive than employment. Evidence shows that the sooner the hospitalized psychiatric client receives regular routines and realizes their own abilities - including securing and sustaining meaningful employment and making a contribution to his or her own community – the faster he or she engages in recovery.

Our employment specialists are embedded at Spring Harbor Hospital and at Maine Behavioral Healthcare community locations. The specialists provide individual job development and supported employment to assist individuals in:

  • Finding employment and educational opportunities
  • Evaluating work readiness
  • Working with prospective employers to access job opportunities
  • Working with current employers to retain the patient’s current position

Community Work Incentives Specialists are available to guide patients as they prepare to enter or return to the work force. They understand how one's work earnings might affect disability or health benefits and counsel patients accordingly.

If a patient needs ongoing support or counseling to reach their work goals, the Community Work Incentive Specialist will help. This takes the burden off family members, who may be ill-equipped to help the patient take those early steps toward employment.

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