Forensic clients who transition to community life require effective support, particularly if they have been institutionalized by years of inpatient life.
Durham Region’s Transitional Rehabilitation Housing Program (TRHP) offers high- and medium-support housing options to help forensic clients successfully navigate the transition to community life.
A collaboration between three partner organizations – Ontario Shores for Mental Health Sciences, Canadian Mental Health Association Durham and Durham Mental Health Services – TRHP provides safe, affordable housing and recovery-oriented staff support to forensic clients.
Some TRHP clients have high-risk index offenses. Others have lower-risk offenses but experience significant mental, emotional or behavioural challenges. Depending on their needs, TRHP clients can be supported in independent units with intermittent staff support (2-3 hours daily) or in congregate dwellings with 24/7 housing support plus an assigned Forensic Transitional Case Manager.
Durham Mental Health Services operates the 24/7 housing support component at its residential location Ballantyne House. One person who has benefitted is client Christina W.
Christina became a patient of Ontario Shores’ Forensic Transitional Unit in 2009 following an assault during a mental health crisis. While at Ontario Shores, Christina says, “I attended some community programming, like the DMHS Day Program and groups at Lakeridge Health Oshawa’s Pinewood Centre, but before
Ballantyne House was set up, there were few housing options for a forensics client like me.”
Christina moved into Ballantyne House in April 2013. “I really enjoy it,” she says. “I enjoy cooking for myself and the other residents. I enjoy the routine of the daily chores. I go to the DMHS Day Program and to a Wellness Group. I even go back to Ontario Shores once a week for yoga and to play basketball.”
Asked about her future plans, Christina says, “I’ll be signing up for a cooking class through Loblaws soon. My ultimate goal is to become a sous chef.”
Christina’s life plans have been furthered thanks to the support and encouragement she receives through the Transitional Rehabilitative Housing Program (TRHP).
As DMHS TRHP Coordinator Krista Bull says, “Our Housing program has supported Forensics clients for many years, but often the needs some of these clients could not be met in our standard program. With this amazing partnership, DMHS and Ontario Shores have found a unique way to transition clients who may otherwise have limited options.”
Full article with pictures: DMHS Report_Transitional Housing Rehabilitation Program_January 2014.