A lot of people do have an awareness these days that the mental health system is broken in some way or another. People hear it in the news, they see it in their neighborhoods, a lot of folks see it in their families when they try to get treatment. It's, unfortunately, unusual to find a place like Silver Hill that delivers such high quality care to each individual that comes through our doors.
I grew up in New Canaan actually, so I am a local, and while I was you know growing up I ran into some difficulties with depression. Everybody I grew up around and everybody seemed to have an idea of where they were supposed to be, and I always felt like I was playing catch up to life, and so that created anxiety, and depression, and fear, and a lot of internalizing all of that, thinking that there was something wrong with me, and that I was broken somehow. Being that I'm from New Canaan I have this amazing resource, Silver Hill. It's ten minutes from my parent’s house, and it was very scary, but it was also very safe, and I think it was the first time I'd felt safe, and taken care of, and protected in a very long time.
Silver Hill in many ways is a pioneer in coordinated, collaborative healthcare, because what we have on this campus is different levels of care. We have an inpatient level of care both for acute psychiatric illness, as well as medically assisted withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, or other medications, and that inpatient level of care is all integrated on the same campus into a setting where when one is done with their inpatient care, she or he can move into the residences where we provide what we call transitional living treatment. Finally, we have outpatient, intensive outpatient programs so some people once they've finished their treatment here can come back and still work with us typically on a three day a week basis.
We as an organization don't shy away from patients who are complex, who have simultaneously different comorbidities, so they may have more than one psychiatric illness at the same time. They may also have medical illnesses at the same time. Our staff are not only not afraid of complexity, but they are actually energized by it.
These cases are such that many clinicians are burned out, frustrated. Progress is very, very slow. You have to understand what would make a person want to die, want to not be living anymore, when they sometimes apparently have everything to live for. So to really sit with someone and say, "I understand. If I were in your shoes, I might want to die as well," and start there. Start where they are, start with that hopelessness and slowly, slowly, patiently, lovingly, caringly, collaboratively with the whole team sit with that person and nurse them back to a point where they can say "I want to live."
We use a term which is clinical soul, and I think it means different things to different people and yet we all love the phrase.
I mean there's a soulfulness, there's a depth of care, there's a depth of understanding, and there's this amazing team of people that is here to truly help and care for and understand the patient to help them through their healing process.
And it's that understanding, of sort of, who they are as human beings and what they're struggling with, that guides the selection and the combination of research proven medications and psychotherapy to get them back on track and to get their families in better shape to be able to come together again.
We are really excited to be launching a new program which is called The Steward House and it is in collaboration with Yale University, both the medical school and Yale New Haven Health System.
The Steward House is a program for executives and professionals who have problems with mental health and addiction. They can live in this house for about a month and receive a high level of professional treatment to get them back on track, so that they can decide what they're going to do with the next chapter of their life with their family and with their work.
I would tell other clinicians "Send your patient to us. We can handle it, we can handle it." And I have told my colleagues that your most difficult patient, "Send them to us."
We are going to take care of you, I was taken care of. This is the beginning of your recovery process whatever that looks like going forward.
We measure success by not only the reduction in symptoms that's sort of the clinical piece, but also building a life worth living that's the soul.