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mental health

Meet Michel

Michel, a VISIONS participant, has been coming to MRI for about three months now. Referred to MRI by Decatur Manor, Michel spends his days in group, working in license plates and greeting his new friends. He comes in a little later than most because he leads the morning meeting at the Brick House Foundation, the sober living home where he currently resides.

Not only does Michel live there, but he is also a resident manager. This means he provides support for a lot of the new residents. Michel assists their recovery by teaching them about structure, which is a skill many recovering from addiction need help with. He establishes chore schedules, organizes legal papers and filing, attends legal matters, like drug court, with fellow housemates and assists with general life skills such as scheduling and keeping appointments. Basically, if there is an issue, anyone in the house can come to Michel for help resolving it.

So how has MRI helped Michel? I mean, it sounds like he’s got it all together! That’s easy, “MRI is stability for me,” he explains. Whenever he runs into issues such as trying to refill his necessary medication, he knows he can always call Lisa, his MRI case manger, and she will help. Most recently, Michel knew he needed more help than he was able to receive. He needed to admit himself to the hospital, but he was worried he would lose his job at MRI. He called Lisa and was relieved to hear her say, “I understand. See you when you get out!”

Michel was shocked. “Any other employer would have fired me for missing work, but Lisa understood.” Michel was able to get the help he needed and return to his job, which was still here for him. “Being able to have a job and contribute, that’s important to me,” says Michel. “That’s what makes or breaks my self esteem.”

Michel is just one of the many adults who attend MRI daily. Click here to learn more about MRI’s VISIONS Mental Health program.

Meet Amara

Amara, an MRI Day Vocational Training and VISIONS participant, lives in MRI’s apartment-style group home.

Before moving into MRI’s apartment-style group home near downtown Decatur, Amara had experienced multiple types of living situations. As she was growing up, Amara had a great support system that allowed her to live at home and transitioned to living independently when she reached adulthood. However, after many life complications, she moved into a large group home with 15 other individuals.

Amara didn’t cope well living with that many people.  She struggles socially and began to lose some of her acquired social and daily living skills. Amara knew she needed a change. She was aware of MRI’s apartment-style group home and knew she had the skills and desire to live independently. Amara advocated for herself and requested she be put on the waitlist for a spot in the apart-style setting.

MRI owns and operates nine group homes in the Decatur area; four to eight people live in each home with full-time daily support staff. These homes are called Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA). People with intellectual disabilities build independent living skills like room care, personal care, social skills and community integration with the help of our CILA staff. Each person’s unique needs are met through family-style dining, personalized rooms and individualized services. By living in an MRI CILA home, individuals not only gain skills, but staff ensure that residents know how to use medical support.

Since moving into her own apartment in MRI’s apartment-style group home, Amara has been budgeting her money, decorating, cleaning her apartment and cooking daily meals. Through Amara’s self-advocacy she can now live on her own and also benefit from the safety and support of 24 hour support staff. Amara commutes on the public bus system and goes shopping whenever she wants. Her next goal is to get a job in the community.

Not only did Amara advocate for herself by asking to move into a more fitting living environment, but she also requested a spot in MRI’s VISIONS Mental Health Program. Amara was already in MRI’s Day Vocational Training program, but felt she would do well in a program that focused on mental health.

For more information on MRI’s Residential Services, click here. For more in the VISIONS mental health program, click here.