Our Short-Term Crisis Respite & Transitional Step-Down Housing program (“Respite”), staffed by peer counselors and housing navigators, suspended admissions in mid-March. We are thankful that with a COVID-19 transmission mitigation plan in place, Respite reopened on July 1, and is once again serving adults facing a psychiatric crisis or reentering the community from hospitalization.
During the suspension of Respite, instead of furloughing the staff, they were redeployed to assist staff in our Queens and Manhattan Supportive Apartment programs, helping with daily check-in calls to clients. Over time, genuine relationships were formed over the phone. “At the start of the pandemic, many clients were anxious with the uncertainty of the times, but as things began to slowly progress and clients became more aware of the various ways to protect themselves from contracting the virus, their anxiety eased,” shared Zalika Gibson, Senior Case Manager for our Queens Supportive Apartment program. “Knowing that we have the support of coworkers from another program, even though we have never met them in person, was very touching and invaluable for us and for clients as well.”
Adrian Postel, Respite Peer Counselor added that during these check-in calls, he often heard from clients who expressed concern about feeling anxious having to stay home more than usual. He suggested activities like meditation, yoga, arts and crafts or simply reaching out to a loved one or a close friend as helpful coping skills. “They shared with me that this was very rewarding for them and I noticed that we also created a special bond and mutual respect that will be greatly missed and that will be held very dear to our hearts forever.”