I have been a member of the board of a mental health organization that for many years has provided neighborhood housing for people who suffer from mental illness. Many people with mental illness live and work in their communities. Only people who are in crisis or are a danger to themselves or others remain in a psychiatric inpatient setting.
Therefore, since transitional neighborhood placements far exceed inpatient care, one can conclude based on the success of these residential facilities, they are well supervised and safe. The neighbors, often after initial negative reactions, come to see the newcomers as part of their community.
If we look within our own families, there is a statistical likelihood of a family member benefitting from psychiatric treatment. Mental illness, although misunderstood and feared, is a very ordinary occurrence.
The residents moving into the retreat house would be similar in many ways to their neighbors living in Ruxton. The maintenance of the property would be supervised. Although residents might stay for six months rather than six years as an owner might, they would be similar to an apartment occupant, while more closely supervised. It is the care and supervision of quality organizations such as Sheppard Pratt Health Systems that assures these homes work well in the communities where they are located.
Gay WilliamsCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun