In-home services available to Manitoba families dealing with mental illness

A Winnipeg agency supporting families living with mental health challenges has launched a new service that will bring help directly to those who need it.Inspire Community Outreach (ICO) has established an In-home Family Stabilization Unit, which gives individuals and families the ability to apply online and arrange for an in-home meeting to discuss available resources and options.Story continues below

The agency provides help for families with children living with complex mental health and neurological disabilities, and who are in mental health distress.READ MORE: More than a quarter of Manitobans deal with mental illness: studyThe idea of the new service is to get the family whatever help they need to reach a more healthy state. This might involve therapy, advocacy, house-cleaning, child care, or help filling out paperwork.It is a service that ICO’s founder Angela Taylor, says she wishes was available for her family when she was a child.Taylor said her mother had “extraordinary” mental illness, leaving her to grow up in the foster system. Though she wouldn’t be diagnosed for many years, Taylor herself was also living with mental health issues. When she went back to live with her family, her mom wasn’t equipped to care for her.“I could have had services,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot of really, really great services in our community but people can’t access them until they have a diagnosis.”READ MORE: Mental health resources for Manitobans“Navigating the system was very difficult,” Taylor said of her childhood. “That was a challenge for us, and it’s a challenge for a lot of families.”Taylor said she’s seen dozens of cases like that — of a family who, because the kids don’t have an official diagnosis, can’t get educational assistants or therapists at school.“The parents are worn out,” Taylor said. “They’ve been trying to navigate the system alone for probably five years without any success.”Taylor sees families frustrated and confused because the system isn’t made for kids with complex cognitive, mental and physical concerns.“We understand, because we are also parents raising children with complex needs,” Taylor said.“Some of us like myself were actually diagnosed with complex needs as children.”Taylor said the unit is in a pilot stage, with about 20 organizations having offered to partner through referring families, or sharing staff.Starting in January, they will take on three families. After three months, Taylor plans to expand to 10 families.WATCH: How to talk to your kids about mental health