is to enhance the quality of life, to promote independent functioning and to facilitate personal growth for adults with a history of mental illness. To achieve this, Independence Center provides ongoing social, educational, vocational, and housing opportunities.
This work study program is designed to help Members with every step of finding, obtaining and maintaining long-term and meaningful employment through ongoing partnerships and individualized vocational case management, as well as providing support to partnering employment companies & HR departments.
Meant to "restore community functioning", PSR is designed to optimize potential for interpersonal & occupational proficiency through various development techniques, allowing Members to overcome social boundaries by recognizing and adapting to functional deficits in order to achieve their highest functioning level.
We retain five local housing developments, providing housing with 24-hour crisis response and on-site case management. We are also dedicated to our relationships with local housing authorities and providers, which offer additional housing options, and we coach Members to understand housing responsibilities include budget management.
The MISA (Mental Illness/Substance Abuse) group is a support group for Members who have a history of both mental illness and substance abuse. The group discussions utilize traditional 12-step concepts of recovery along with an eclectic mix of information from other self-help groups.
In order to achieve balanced wellness, we address all problems associated with inadequate health resources, including nutritional counseling, preventive screenings, meal planning & preparation, fitness instruction, exercise facility use, smoking cessation, stress reduction & more.
Staff assist Members in their natural community settings to develop daily living skills, including those for social settings, health management, occupational functioning and more. Services are tailored to individual needs and are meant to guide, not to fulfill need on behalf of the Member.
Independence Center began accepting Members in 1989 following a two-year fundraising and planning initiative started by Lake County residents seeking aid for mentally ill family members. It became clear the resources needed by those with chronic mental illness were not prevalent, and if these family members and other afflicted community members were to ever have a chance at living normal, healthy and productive lives, the community would have to support them in a new way.
With a $60,000 grant for the facility and an additional $165,000 to work with, doors opened to the first 11 original Members supported by three paid staff members and a 15-Member Board of Directors.
Since then, we have served more than 3,000 Members. The most common disorders our Members are faced with include bi-polar disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorders.
Members come to us from all over Lake County. Their ailments don't care about the color of their skin, their religious affiliation or their household income. Regardless of their differences, they are the same in their struggles to rise above their mental illness.
- 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness, amounting to 140,000 in Lake County.
- 17% of Northern Lake County adults reported a mental disorder in the last year.
- Adults with mental illness die an average of 25 yrs earlier, largely due to treatable conditions.
- 90% of suicide victims have an underlying mental illness.
- Among the 20 mil adults battling addiction, 50% of them have a co-occurring mental illness
- About 26% of homeless adults live with a serious mental illness.
- 56% of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment.
- Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide based on PTSD related illness.
Miranda Mussario, PSR Coordinator
Deaphine Dew, PSR Case Manager I
Linda Weiss, AOS Coordinator
Erica Nathan, AOS Case Manager
Fritz Gelin, AOS Case Manager
Alyssa Thermos, AOS Case Manager
Vernetta Williams, Floating Case Manager
Rori Ramirez, Benefits Case Manager
Stephanie Hattenschweiler, Financial Case Manager
Daniel Juliana, Housing Coordinator
Cassandra Deniston, Housing Case Manager
Sharon Jones, Housing Case Manager
Nasrullah Khan, Vocational Program Coordinator
Sonya Crowder, Administrative Coordinator & Bookkeeper
Christen Moore, Reception & Scheduling Specialist
Theresa Griffin, Reimbursement Specialist
Beth Spallone, Resource Developer
Luis Garcia, Transportation Manager
Lisa Johnson, Executive Director
Gene Marceron, Assistant Director