Did you know on any single night in the United States, up to 600,000 people sleep on sidewalks, under bridges, in the woods, or in emergency shelters, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development? Of those, an estimated 30 percent, or 180,000 people, live with debilitating mental health illnesses, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and while many factors can contribute to homelessness, including poverty and a lack of affordable housing, there is a deep connection between mental health and those who experience this challenging phase of life. For instance, did you know on a national scale, 45 percent of those experiencing homelessness experience mental illness? Our blog last month revealed there are upwards of 230 men, women and children right here in Harford County without a home; for those who enter our program at Harford Family House, addressing their mental health needs is of utmost importance.
So, how do we help? For more than a year, Harford Family House has partnered with Villa Maria Behavioral Health Services, a subsidiary of Catholic Charities located in Abingdon, Maryland. Through the partnership, we met Kim Marley, a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). Kim visits our facility and meets with anyone who needs help. Kim meets each individual – whether they be a parent or a child – without judgment and talks through their challenges and provides sound clinical advice and recommendations.
While May is recognized nationally as a month of mental health, it’s important to us at Harford Family House to address the mental health needs of our families throughout the year. That’s why Kim visits us 2-3 nights a week throughout the year – after business hours when it’s most convenient for our working parents. For many she’s a listening ear; for others, she’s a sound confidant and friend. We thank Kim for her passionate care about our families and look forward to continuing our relationship with her and Villa Maria!
If you’re interested to learn more about our work, or the services we provide to our families, please click here. Thank you for your support!