Article Spotlights SCES Connect Program

The Connect Program at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) brings a social work perspective to mental health services— and that approach was featured as a success story in a recent trade publication article.

The Connect Program was featured in the May issue of FOCUS, which is published by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

The article was written by SCES Connect Social Worker Lisa Bryon, who has worked with the program the past three years. She credited SCES Director Clinical Services Annie Fowler for getting the ball rolling on the piece, adding it was rewarding to write about a program that’s having success at providing better outcomes for clients.

Lisa Bryon

“I feel proud to be able to talk about such a fine group of clinicians, who do really hard work, and to talk about our clients, who are the reason we do that work,” said Bryon.

Launched in 2007, Connect is a combination of client-centered case management and counseling, with the goal of reducing risks associated with untreated mental health conditions. The program serves 58 clients who are considered “at risk,” helping with everything from health and wellness programs to tackling complicated problems, such as eviction prevention.

Connect Social Worker Cassie Cramer said this type of program is uncommon at Area Agencies on Aging, adding it fills a need that often goes unmet.

“Older adults with mental health conditions are often underserved by traditional supports, due to difficulty with transportation, stigma around mental health, or co-occurrence with cognitive disorders—like dementia,” said Cramer. “Programs like Connect are important, because untreated mental health conditions are associated with higher rates of hospitalization and nursing home admission, as well as preventable health problems.”

The FOCUS piece was Bryon’s first published article, and it was also published in the SCES quarterly newsletter, The Advocate. Nathan Lamb is editor of the Advocate and said he’d love to see more work from Byron, but she recently relocated and is taking-on a larger role with a community-based mental health center in New Hampshire.

“I thought it was great how Lisa felt strongly that Connect was doing great work and took upon herself to make sure that story was told,” said Lamb. “She will be missed.”