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It has been said that recovery is hard work. This is especially true for those recovering from mental health and/or addiction challenges. For these individuals, success often depends on being able to access both medical treatment and a robust array of social supports.
That’s where WNC Healthy Opportunities Pilot member Eleanor Health Foundation (EHF) comes in. The foundation’s mission is to expand equitable access to recovery across Western North Carolina by providing support for treatment costs, social needs, innovative treatment approaches, and public education. This whole-person focus makes EHF a natural fit for HOP. And being able to bill Medicaid for pilot services allows them to help more clients like Lee.
Lee is a Medicaid Managed Care patient who has behavioral health needs and asthma. She was referred to HOP by her care manager when she learned Lee was about to be evicted from her home. Once enrolled, Lee was given a referral to EHF who collaborated with Pisgah Legal Services, another WNC HOP member, to help her identify affordable housing resources.
When Lee came to EHF, she was anxious and depressed, and both conditions were being exacerbated by the prospect of losing her home. Over the next few weeks, HOP staff helped Lee find a new place to live, complete necessary paperwork, and relocate her belongings. She also got support for her first month’s rent, security deposit, utility setup, and healthy home goods.
Today, Lee’s recovery is going strong. She acknowledges the support she received from EHF and the pilot is “tremendous.” Her anxiety and depression scores have improved by nearly 40% in just over two months. None of this is surprising to Elena Keller who oversees HOP services at EHF. “Basic needs are essential for anyone’s recovery,” Elena notes. “It’s really impossible for anyone to succeed in recovery without housing or transportation. You need more than the bare minimum to recover,” she adds. “It’s hard to focus on your well-being when you don’t have stability.”
EHF helps HOP participants find stable ground with services that provide housing, transportation, and food security. Beyond the pilot, EHF offers a host of additional recovery supports including assistance with paying for medications, work clothes, and medical and dental bills.
As HOP participants like Lee are proving, recovery may be hard work, but it’s well within reach with the right support.
–Elena Keller, Medicaid Care Navigator, Eleanor Health Foundation