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According to social worker Hilary Bye, young adults who have been recently diagnosed with mental illness need more than just treatment. While medications and therapy are important, people need “socialization, wellness, and a sense of community.” However, programs aimed at these needs are hard to find. McLean’s new WellSpace program—made possible thanks to philanthropic support—seeks to fill the gap.
Launched in late 2016, WellSpace is a day program designed to meet the needs of young adults ages 18 to 30 years who are newly experiencing psychosis. Among the many programs provided by WellSpace are clinical groups where people can talk about their experiences with their particular illnesses. “We know that many young patients don’t discuss their conditions with their parents or their friends,” said Bye. By creating a forum where individuals can share their thoughts with their peers, Bye explained, “we’re letting patients know that they’re not alone.”
Other WellSpace programming will address wellness and physical health. In the months to come, Bye said that WellSpace will offer “a video game group, fitness challenges, team-based activities, yoga, art expression—we’ll run the gamut of opportunities.” She also anticipates WellSpace offering community outings and activities providing guidance on tasks like shopping and budgeting. “We would like to help people transition into adult life,” she stated.
Bye described WellSpace as “a flexible model that offers variety. We want patients to have ownership, and we’ll rely on them for ideas and guidance.” Ultimately, she said, “we want to make a fun, welcoming community and make it a space people can call their own.”