Partnered with local clinic JD Health & Wellness, Union Gospel Mission of Salem is now equipped to change the lives of unsheltered women and children in new ways. 

This month JD Health & Wellness opened their second UGM health clinic at Simonka Place for Women & Children where guests will meet medical professionals virtually and in-person to address both physical and behavioral health needs.  

In September 2020 the clinic was first trialed at UGM’s Men’s Mission. “This [was] just a piece of our case management, of our vision, that we’ve been missing. Before, we were only able to make a medical referral,” says Men’s Mission Guest Services Manager Moises Ramos. “Now we are equipped to make a full referral with accurate diagnoses and other medical information.”  

On average, 80% of UGM guests are battling mental illness, making the integration of behavioral health crucial to shelter health services. 

Because most guests do not own a vehicle, the in-house clinics remove transportation barriers. Diseases and conditions caught early reduce the number of avoidable hospital readmissions and emergency calls that originate from the Mission, saving the community thousands of dollars.  

So far, the Men’s Mission clinic, alone, has seen more than 3,000 guests. 

Mental health counseling office at Simonka Place

“Our clinicians have been trained to utilize universal screening tools, and this is done for each patient who arrives at the Mission as part of their initial visit,” says Eric Davis, director of behavioral health at JD Health & Wellness.  

Some of those tools include evidence-based modalities such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and internal family systems (IFS) to create deep healing for clients suffering with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related conditions. 

“JD Health & Wellness also specializes in Alpha Stem also known as electro cranial stimulation that increases the alpha waves and effectively treats anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain,” says Davis. 

Once individuals are assessed, a treatment plan is created while guests reside at the shelters.  

Simonka Place’s new health clinic will include a lineup of group therapy classes for every guest. Coupled with immediate access to health care, the shelter will see a new detox room and an additional mental health counselor. 

“It will be wonderful collaborating with JD Health & Wellness…” says Director of Women’s Ministry Kathy Smith. “They offer treatments that are not available to our guests in other medical settings and will enable the guests to move forward more quickly and safely in their recovery.”  

UGM case managers may spend 10 hours of their time stabilizing just one individual. Having an onsite nurse to fill and refill medications frees staff workloads to attend to other guest needs. 

“When women feel better, they will want to be more active, more purposeful in their work; [they’ll be] able to make appointments, go to work, look for housing,” says Smith who also shares that nearly 92% of homeless individuals experience some form of physical illness or disability. 

This dynamic partnership with JD Health & Wellness positions UGM to better serve both the community and our unsheltered neighbors for sustained life change. 

If you would like to tour Simonka Place or the Men’s Mission, contact Hannah at hberry@ugmsalem.org 

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