New home to help mentally ill people to integrate better
An eight-bedroom home has been recommissioned to help people struggling with mental disabilities to better integrate into the community.
The Tarheel House project was started in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute and the Bermuda Mental Health Foundation, a wellness charity.
The three-storey home is the largest community home the BMHF runs, with its other three designed to house about three people per unit.
James MacDonald, the head of the charity, said that the new home was part of its goal to house 50 MWI patients within the wider community.
He said: “Housing is more than just a roof over one’s head — it’s a sanctuary. A place where one can feel safe, secure and supported.
“Our housing programme aims to provide just that for individuals with mental disabilities, and Tarheel is a testament to that commitment.”
Tarheel House is split up into three units and comes with a kitchen, a nurse’s station and a bathroom, and a washing machine and dryer on each floor.
Residents, who moved into the home about a month ago, will have 24/7 access to care from MWI nurses.
Staff will help residents with daily activities such as taking medication and occupational therapy when necessary.
Residents have the ability to travel throughout the day or stay in, where they can take part in various activities, play games or enjoy television.
Every piece of furniture and appliance in the house has either been bought second-hand or donated.
Preston Swan, the clinical director of MWI, said that Tarheel House was the project of a shared vision between the institute and the BMHF to integrate people with mental disabilities into the community.
He said: “The real joy of this partnership is to see our clients get the benefit of the generosity of the foundation.
“Our clients are living in an environment where they feel like they’re out in the open and in the community.
“Certainly, we’re seeing the behaviours of the clients changing as their lives are being enriched just by having their residence changed.
“Sometimes a change in location can be enough to make them feel better.”
Simone Ebanks, a MWI nurse working at Tarheel House, said that she saw first-hand the changes in the residents’ behaviour simply because of their new independence.
She said: “They’re able to talk with their neighbours everyday, they can go to town, they can go to the store and get groceries.
“It’s really about integrating them back into the community, having somewhere that they call home and giving them a sense of ownership.”
Ms Ebanks added: “Families can come and visit, and neighbours can come over and spend time with them.”