Archive | April, 2012

The StarPhoenix: Lighthouse unit provides new option

By Janet French of The StarPhoenix

A new partnership between Lighthouse Supported Living and the Saskatoon Health Region is giving people with mental health and addictions issues a new option for living independently.

Next week, tenants will begin moving into eight newly renovated rooms in the Lighthouse’s downtown building, where the will have access to counsellors, social workers and other health services. A ninth room in the building’s new “complex needs” wing will be available for emergency shelter.

Lighthouse executive director Don Windels says the idea is for people who struggle with mental health and addictions to get the help they need while living in their own space, and eventually, moving on to live more independently when they’re well.”By working together in Saskatoon we can ensure everyone has a place to call home,” Windels said.

A news release says the wing will provide a “supportive, stabilizing environment” for people with severe and persistent issues who may otherwise be moving around a lot. Three counsellors from the health region will offer emotional and psychological support, help manage their medication, and help residents develop life skills.

Having a safe place to live is a critical first step in dealing with other complex issues, says Tracy Muggli, director of mental health and addiction services with the health region.

“Imagine not having a roof over your head, then our society expecting you to be able to deal with the other many challenges you might have,” she said. “I think our community is hearing that message. We’re making great strides and this is such a privilege to be able to support the Lighthouse moving forward on this initiative.”

The health region granted the Lighthouse $170,000 to renovate a floor of its Second Avenue South building, which now features bright bedrooms with private bathrooms and wooden floors.

Residents are served three meals a day in a central kitchen, along with the other 60 residents of the Lighthouse.

The region is also contributing $120,000 a year to pay for staff to work on-site. In addition to social workers and counsellors, the region will also send nurses, occupational therapists and other professionals over from time to time.

Eight people who could benefit from the facility are already lined up to move in, starting Monday.

Lighthouse in Saskatoon gets major donation

As reported by Chris Mangatal of CKOM News

Having a roof over your head is one of the basic necessities of a healthy lifestyle — but sometimes those dealing with mental health issues and addictions have a hard time finding a place to live.

A $170,000 donation from the Saskatoon Health Region going towards Lighthouse Supported Living has allowed them to renovate nine rooms in the complex needs wing.

“Now we have an option where the support is built right into the facility and we also have professionals coming in from the health region to continue to add to that support,” said Tracy Muggli, director of mental health and addictions services for the Saskatoon Health Region.

“I think one of the big difficulties is the stigma that’s associated with addictions and mental health.”

She said addressing that stigma is one of their major tasks — to create more capacity in the community to provide living space.

“We’re trying to house those people that need someone to take a chance on them, so that they can go out into the community,” said DeeAnn Mercier, director of communications at the Lighthouse.

“It’s a place for people to be stabilized and focus on the next step in their lives, to gain greater independence.”

There is a lot of excitement coming from those waiting to move into the new rooms.

“I have one lady who’s constantly asking me when can I move in? When can I move in? Can i buy toilet paper yet? Should I buy toilet paper today? When can I move in?” said Mercier.
The Lighthouse plans to open a new tower in the fall with affordable housing units, which will include kitchenettes for more independent living.