Finding Group Homes for Mentally Ill Adults
Group homes for mentally ill adults can be sources of support and stability.
Mental illness presents numerous challenges for those living with it. There are different mental disorders, each with unique challenges; however, all mental illnesses involve significant distress and disruption in functioning. Sometimes relationships suffer because of mental illness symptoms, and people living with mental illness find themselves increasingly isolated. Other times, people do have supportive relatives and friends, but those supporters might not know exactly how to care for a loved one living with debilitating mental illness. Finding group homes for adults with mental illness can be quite helpful for someone trying to live with mental illness.
Types of Group Homes for Mentally Ill
Group homes are often a stopping point for people with mental illness who have been in psychiatric hospitals or even prisons (Different Levels of Housing For People With Mental Illness). The eligibility requirements do vary from program to program, so there may be people living in group homes who are not reentering society after hospitalization or prison.
There are three basic types of group housing available: transitional housing, supportive housing, and supported housing.
- Transitional housing is the type of environment that might come to mind when someone thinks of the term "group home." It is one house, building, or center where a specified number of people live together, both mentally ill adults and staff members. Here, people learn skills they need for independent living; after all, these group homes exist to transition people back into general society.
- Supportive housing includes different rental apartments all in one location. Typically, there are crisis support services on-site 24/7.
- Supported housing consists of individual apartments that, while all part of the same group program, aren't in the same location. Residents have access to crisis services and other off-site support.
These are general descriptions of the three main types of group housing available for mentally ill adults. Within this framework, there are many hybrid variations (Types of Behavioral and Mental Health Services You May Need).
Finding Group Housing for Mentally Ill Adults
The demand for group homes for mentally ill adults is extreme. Unfortunately, the need far exceeds the availability. Finding group housing and then learning the requirements needed to be accepted into group housing programs aren't easy tasks (Housing For The Mentally Ill: Where To Find It). Add to that the fact that people living with mental illness and in need of a group home are typically in a space where they are having difficulty navigating complicated systems. Friends and family members, too, can become overwhelmed by the process of finding and securing group housing. While finding transitional, supportive, or supported housing is daunting, it's worth it, and it truly is possible.
Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but people living with mental illness, as well as their friends and family, aren't alone (Mental Health Statistics: You Are Definitely Not Alone). Support and help to find mental health services is available in your area, including support and help for finding group housing for mentally ill adults. Programs vary by state, county, and even local community. The process of finding group housing will vary from location to location, but one or more of the following general tips just might prove to be helpful:
- Discover what resources exist in your community. If your community has a county mental health agency or a local unit of a national mental health organization such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), or others, contact them or visit their office. One of the many things that these organizations do is to provide lists of local resources to anyone who requests them.
- Many states have mental health boards. To see if yours does, simply search "mental health board" and add your state. These can point people in the direction they need to find such things as group housing for mentally ill adults.
- Connect with a social worker or case worker; the above-mentioned resources can help you do that. People in these helping professions are equipped to help people find and secure resources, including group housing.
- If you already have a mental health provider, talk to him/or her about group housing. Often, they can help facilitate the process (Types of Mental Health Counselors: Finding A Good One).
Finding group housing for the mentally ill, whether such settings are transitional, supportive, or supported, is well worth the effort. The compassionate and accommodating environments of group housing go a long way in helping people develop the skills they need to transcend the problems created by mental illness.
Last Updated: 20 May 2018
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD