What is the Living Room model for people experiencing a mental health crisis?

The Living Room model is a community crisis center that offers people experiencing a mental health crisis an alternative to hospitalization. When people experience a mental health crisis they are faced with the decision to go to the emergency department or to try to manage the crisis themselves. In the ED, clients are often faced with frustration, long wait times and even minimization of symptoms. Symptoms can increase in ED due to a loud and unwelcoming environment. People in mental health crises have reported needing a safe space where they can talk to someone who understands what they are going through. The Living Room Model is a potential solution to this. Studies show that people who visit Living Rooms have better outcomes than those who visit emergency departments and this model is a cost-effective alternative to emergency department visits for mental health crises.

Living Rooms embrace the Recovery Model and offer people experiencing mental health crises a calm and safe environment. The community outpatient centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and people receive care immediately.

Services include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • A safe place in which to rest and relax
  • Support from peer counselors with personal experience in manage mental illness
  • Intervention from professional counselors including teaching de-escalation skills and developing safety plans
  • Linkage with referrals for emergency housing, healthcare, food and mental health services
  • Identification of and referral to community resources

For more information, view this article: The Living Room, a Community Crisis Respite Program: Offering People in Crisis an Alternative to Emergency Departments (Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 2013)

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