A Safe Place for People With a Mental Illness
The Guild Community Support Program Member Center, or the CSP, is a place where people can drop in and attend classes, join groups, and have fun.
“It’s a place for adults with mental illness to come and be themselves,” says Megan, Social Rehabilitation Specialist. Anyone from Dakota County with a mental illness can come to the CSP, but CSP staff don’t need to approve anyone’s diagnosis in order for them to be welcome.
Activities consist of art and crafts classes, peer support, music, and spirituality groups, and events like group lunches, volunteer opportunities, or outings in the community. From the CSP’s webpage, you can find a link to the monthly calendar with events. Members (people who come to the CSP) can also drop in during open hours to socialize.
Working at the CSP
For the Social Rehabilitation Specialists, part of their job is getting things ready for members behind the scenes, and part of it is working directly with members.
“Our population is so diverse, both culturally, but also in their mental capabilities,” says Social Rehabilitation Specialist Diane. “We’re coaching and teaching them life skills, such as interacting with others.”
For Diane and Megan, during member hours, a typical afternoon often looks like talking with clients one-on-one, playing cards, or helping volunteers with groups.
Receptionist Erica greets clients as they enter the CSP. She comments, “What I enjoy most is getting to see the members, and seeing their excitement.”
CSP staff also work with other Guild departments on a regular basis. Residential services staff will often bring Guild South clients to the CSP to participate in groups. This helps IRTS and Crisis clients who will soon be graduating know they have a place to go to continue to receive support and mental health education.
During the earlier COVID lockdown in 2020, Diane stepped in and helped with Guild’s housing programs. Both Diane and Megan have also stepped in to help at Guild South during COVID, and are regular relief staff there. The crossover of familiar faces helps prospective CSP members feel encouraged to become members at the CSP.
Social Rehabilitation Makes a Difference
“The CSP is important because the members feel at home and safe here,” says Erica.
People who live with a mental illness often feel like they don’t have a place in society, explain Megan and Diane. Providing a space without judgment, where people are going through similar and different struggles, can help those individuals feel a sense of belonging.
What exactly is social rehabilitation? “It’s a human thing,” explains Diane. “We all, as humans, need interaction with people.”
“Rehabilitation is education,” says Megan. “We’re teaching and coaching individuals how to take charge of their mental health and wellness, and creating an environment of hope where everyone is celebrated and accepted for exactly who they are.”
We welcome any Dakota County resident living with a mental illness. Please schedule your first visit by calling (651) 457-2248.