ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Family Services of Chemung County, the largest mental health service provider in the County, held an Open House Thursday at its location on 1149 Sullivan Street. The event was focused on employment and educational opportunities, as well as letting people know about various programs available that support adult mental health. The nonprofit has been providing mental health support since 1864.

“I think there are a lot of mental health needs in the community,” said Kelly Loysch, the Crisis & Recovery Director at Family Services of Chemung County. “I know throughout Chemung County there is a wait list, and there are not enough people providing that support.”

“I think there’s a lot of people in the community that can benefit from mental health support and getting employment support and vocational supports on top of that is really helping people in the community,” said Loysch.

The S.T.I.R.S program stands for Southern Tier Integrated Recovery Services. The PROS program stands for Personalized Recovery Oriented Services. The New York State Office of Mental Health describes PROS as:

“Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) is a comprehensive recovery oriented program for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. The goal of the program is to integrate treatment, support and rehabilitation in a manner that facilitates the individual’s recovery. Goals for individuals in the program are to: improve functioning, reduce inpatient utilization, reduce emergency services, reduce contact with the criminal justice system, increase employment, attain higher levels of education and secure preferred housing. There are four “service components” in the program: Community Rehabilitation and Support (CRS), Intensive Rehabilitation (IR), Ongoing Rehabilitation and Support (ORS) and Clinical Treatment.”

Thursday’s open house was a collaboration between Family Services and another nonprofit named “Capabilities” which shares the same building. Capabilities says it has been working to find jobs for people with disabilities since 1956.

“I think the key to it is having a job gives you purpose,” said Katrina Manning, Chief Operating Officer at Capabilities. “For many individuals who are living with various mental health issues, having a purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning is what keeps them going keeps them out of the hospitals, keeps them feeling good about themselves. We live in a society where the first thing after people learn your name is what you do for a living. So, if you haven’t had a job that can be really difficult for people. Our partnership is a way of helping people who maybe haven’t had a really positive work experience, come together with the right supports around their mental health so that they can be successfully employed, whatever what way that looks to them. Some people work five hours a week. Some people work 40 hours a week. It’s not so much about the quantity of work as much as the purpose that it’s giving people to get out of bed in the morning.”

Loysch says Family Services offers programs year-round.

“We offer a program Monday through Friday, where people can come in and spend all day if they’d like. We offer individual sessions, groups, medication management. So, people can come in and spend all day it’s a safe place to be in the community. We offer free breakfast and lunch every day for clients that are enrolled in our program, free of charge.

To learn more about the services available at Family Services you can visit its website here. For more information about opportunities at Capabilities, visit its website here.