Many people with severe mental illness are able to contribute to their communities as working, active individuals – if they’re given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding many mental health conditions can prevent patients from fully reintegrating into society through competitive jobs, independent living and the ability to function within social circles.
Eli Lilly and Company, a corporation with a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products, is sympathetic to the difficulties these individuals face. For this reason, the company created the Lilly Reintegration Awards, which honor treatment teams, programs and services that assist those with severe mental illness as they re-enter the community, as well as individuals with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia who provide hope and support to their peers. The awards are now in their 14th year.
“Every year, we look forward to the spotlight these awards shine on the most innovative services in supporting people with mental illness,” said David Ricks, President of Lilly USA, LLC. “It is these dedicated individuals and strong community programs that make it possible for those living with mental illness to reintegrate into society — to secure jobs, housing, education, all the essentials of a meaningful life.”
An independent judging panel comprising mental health professionals reviews the pool of applications and selects the honorees based on the scope and reach of programs, services and achievements. Grants are then awarded to help their particular programs succeed. First-place recipients receive a $5,000 grant for their organizations, and second-place recipients receive a $2,500 grant. Award categories include Advocacy, Clinical Medicine, Employment, Housing, Social Support, Achievement and Artistic Contribution.
This year, New York’s BRC Reception Center won in the Housing category. The Bowery Residence Committee’s (BRC) Reception Center serves chronically homeless individuals with serious mental illness and is New York City’s only clinically based emergency shelter that takes individuals directly from the street into a program bed. The BRC Reception Center provides psychiatric and medical stabilization, in addition to case management services, with the goal of placing clients in appropriate, supportive housing within nine months of intake. Follow-up care is provided for at least one year to assist graduates in maintaining housing and continuing to successfully reintegrate into the community. Last year, the Center successfully placed 71 individuals into housing.
The BRC Reception Center is just one of the many programs working to help those with persistent mental illness reintegrate into society. Along with the other Award winners, it deserves recognition and support.
“We say this every year, and it’s true: these Awards recipients are the best of the brightest,” said Ralph Aquila, M.D., chairperson of the Awards’ independent judging panel. “Their tireless efforts are building the future of our nation’s mental healthcare, providing hope and an environment in which to heal.”