Some 92 percent of residents at Samaritan House report being a survivor of physical, emotional or psychological abuse, and 83 percent share they’ve received previous mental health treatment and a diagnosis.
“We have a lot of our clients coming in who’ve experienced really severe trauma,” said Rachel Volmert, a licensed
clinical social worker. “We’re asking about their physical activity, spirituality and family life. It’s a unique approach, and we have the flexibility to do that.”
Volmert is clinical director of the Wellness Consultant team at Samaritan House, launched a year ago to help residents.
“Without them, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Elizabeth, 74. “It’s kept me from the streets, kept me from homelessness and it helped me build my self-esteem.”
Elizabeth is one of many residents at Samaritan House locations who access holistic counseling services to heal from past trauma and prepare for a life of self-sufficiency. The expanding team of in-house counselors follow a tiered approach to wellness and help lead women, families and veterans to a brighter future.
“We’re serving this population in the way we know best,” says Volmert. “We meet them right where they’re at.”
Elizabeth has received counseling weekly for five months at Samaritan House and wants to continue after she’s found an apartment.
“There’s a whole lot of knowledge here,” she said. “Everyone here has opened doors for me.”
The team’s nine clinicians partner with social case workers to address the social determinants in each person at Samaritan House Denver shelter locations and after they’ve moved into stable housing.
They assess each of the social determinants of health, which include education, economic stability, neighborhood and
environment, healthcare and social and community context.
The social determinants are a key to healthcare and mental health care discussions so that Samaritan House’s wellness
consultants can “expand to address the whole person,” Volmert said.
The mental health clinicians, who are licensed or licensed-eligible, start with an assessment of social determinants and use a tiered model for care that starts with crisis and suicide prevention and safety planning. That’s followed by brief solutions and focused therapy with or without a diagnosis. After those levels, a traditional style of therapy with a diagnosis or treatment is offered.