GREENVILLE —SafeHaven Inc. is celebrating 20 years of providing mental health support services for Darke, Miami and Shelby counties.
Its mission: A passionate drive to provide hope and recovery for those struggling and suffering with mental illness, an illness that can cause severe personal, family, financial, employment, relationship and addiction issues.”
The administration of SafeHaven is grateful to the support it has received over the years.
“Your support has greatly impacted those broken, homeless, addicted, alone, afraid, in poverty and close to giving up,” said Executive Director Douglas Metcalfe. “Recovery is a daily, lifelong journey. In our first 20 years, you’ve helped provide real hope to our SafeHaven family through: More than 26,000 educational classes, support groups and activities; more than 100,000 meals; more than 700,000 transportation miles; and more than 100,000 payeeship stability checks.”
According to him, there is more work to be done.
“Currently, SafeHaven provides many free services to an average of nearly 100 individuals per day in Miami County, 30 in Darke County and 25 in Shelby County,” Metcalfe said. “Our number of people and families in need has dramatically increased throughout the years, and there are more we need to reach. These essential, free services are provided only with the heart and works of your community support each year.”
SafeHaven Recovery Day was held April 28 at the Miami County site, and other events coming soon are the Shelby County SafeHaven/SCCC Open house on June 15; Darke County SafeHaven open house on June 20; and Tri-County Picnic at Fountain Park on Sept. 22.
To celebrate the first 20 years and to look forward to the goals Greenville SafeHaven wants to accomplish and the increased number of people it knows it can benefit to in the community, there will be an open house on June 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We are going to have hot dogs, chips, cookies and a drink,” Metcalfe said. “We will be inviting community providers, family members, donors, and any parties interested in learning more about what SafeHaven offers and what it can offer to anyone looking to find more help for mental illness.”
SafeHaven, Metcalfe said, has been in Darke County since 2002.
“We began our services overall for all three counties in 1996 providing services but we were not able to provide locally until that year,” he said. “We started our services on Third Street and were there for a few years until we were able to receive a capital grant and move to our current location at 322 Fair St.”
He went on, “We have been offering a wonderful variety of services for years there, offering any adult in need of mental health support a safe place conducive to recovery for them several days a week. We have an average of 30 people per day and site assistants that run the daily programming and classes. We also have myself and my two other full-time staff that rotate our days going to the Darke County site as well as attending our Miami County and Shelby County site as well. For any adult in need of mental health support we are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the only day of the week we are closed due to budget constraints is Mondays.”
Services include everything free for members and that is educational groups and support classes including lots of evidence-based classes and best practices like wellness recovery action plan and b.r.i.d.g.e.s. and peer support and living in balance. There are also fun activities sprinkled throughout the structure day like arts and crafts and games and bingo and exercise. The classes focus on coping skills and learning how to deal with the symptoms of depression anxiety schizophrenia and bipolar, etc., as well as the effects that can occur in life from those often debilitating symptoms including poverty homelessness relationship issues etc.
“We have increased our focus on providing groups for individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction issues increasingly in the last couple of years , particularly because in many cases people are self-medicating with those addiction issues because of underlying mental illness struggles,” Metcalfe said. “We are very proud to have wonderful community support from Darke County over the years that allow us to offer these wonderful free services. Our members also have a free meal and free transportation every single day that are open for them to come in and enjoy the family environment, encouragement, and caring staff. Our members also get free monthly field trips including fun things in the summer like going to fairs, festivals, concerts, picnics and ball games. In addition, we go to shopping trips, movies, bowling and other fun things that the members select themselves each year.”
The eligibility specifically is for any adult in need of mental health services.
“They are welcome to come in our door,” he said. “We have referrals from some of our partner community partner agencies and, in other cases, our members come in to us before we refer them in a Continuum of Care to help with building their lives back together and getting back to being able to feel valued parts of the community. We are grateful for our support as a contract agency of the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services as well as being a partner agency of the Darke County United Way.”
The executive director said a couple other important programs that SafeHaven has that are not part of that daily school-like structure of classes and activities are its Hopeline and its organizational payeeship program.
“Our Hope Line is open from 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4 to 8 on Saturday and Sunday for individuals that are not in a crisis but need mental health support, someone to talk to, need to discuss how to work out problems, or need referral information,” he explained. “The number for our help line is 937-0451 3232 or toll free at 1-855-276-HOPE.”
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.