Case Study: Gordonia and Group Home Services

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Gordonia and Group Home Services’ core business is to provide accommodation and rehabilitative services to people with severe mental illness. It serves as a bridge between hospital discharge and independent community living. Services are tailored in a way that prepares the beneficiaries for successful independent living at Gordonia and outside the Gordonia setting. Group homes have been established to accommodate Gordonia beneficiaries who are ready for community living, but who do not have support systems in place within their own communities. The Organisation was established to accommodate clients of Central Gauteng Mental Health Society, previously known as Wits Mental Health Society, and has been in existence since 1982.

Gordonia and Group Home Services have managed to accommodate 80 people with severe mental illness and have provided services to improve their level of functioning. Designed to promote independent living, individuals are currently participating in household activities such as laundry services and kitchen duties. Empowerment programs are in place and individuals are taught basic social skills as well as communication skills, coping skills, anger management skills and stress management skills. These skills empower the individuals and facilitate good communication, self- awareness and provide the individuals with the ability to safeguard  against infringements of their rights. Residents are empowered through programs that assist them in gaining insight into their medical condition and in managing their medication. All skills development is aimed at promoting independent living for the individual and as a result some beneficiaries are now receptionists or drivers and others are in the open labour market.

Beneficiaries with good support structures at home have been discharged back to their communities, whilst those without support structures go to the Group home living facility where independent living is facilitated.

Theme

Promoting independent living.

Lessons Learnt

The stigma attached to mental health still exists. Communities always perceive mental health as governments’ responsibility and as a result most people with mental health issues are neglected and take to the streets. In SA, there is a shortage of facilities that accommodate ageing and frail people, with mental illness, and this presents another challenge for us. Gordonia and Group home service serves mentally ill individuals who can be rehabilitated to live independently and do not have the means to care for the frail or elderly mentally ill individuals. We currently have 11 residents who will be in need of frail care shortly and we have nowhere to refer them too.

NGO Website

http://www.witsmhs.co.za/