Christopher’s Path to Wellness, Paved with Support from our AOT Program

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Christopher was referred to Caminar’s Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program after psychiatric hospitalization following an altercation with his family. He didn’t believe he had a mental illness and wasn’t able to define why he had been hospitalized.

Christopher is a young man struggling to come to terms with mental illness and delusional thoughts, thoughts that sometimes convinced him the world was against him. He feels isolated, socially awkward, and ashamed for the dark thoughts in his head.

Our AOT program assists San Mateo County residents with severe mental illness as they transition from inpatient care to outpatient living. The program provides 24/7 intensive mental health services, housing support, and life skill development for Christopher and others like him.

The path to mental health and wellness, however, isn’t a straight line. Christopher had been moving forward in his recovery, until one day when he experienced a setback and destroyed property at his parents’ home. This time, he did not find himself in the hospital. Since he was connected with Caminar’s AOT Program, his Caminar caseworker jumped into action, meeting with him immediately to provide a mental health assessment and establish additional support

His caseworker helped Christopher to stabilize and avoid another hospitalization. Together they created a safety plan, and the caseworker offered support both to Christopher and his family. Most importantly, the caseworker built trust with him and encouraged him to reach out whenever he needs help in order to prevent a crisis in the future.

Christopher is still connected with Caminar. He recently graduated from AOT and stepped down to our New Ventures case management program, which provides lower intensity mental health case management services. Christopher continues to move toward wellness and recovery. And, the AOT program is proving its intended value to help those who struggle to live safely in the community.

Recent San Mateo County data, as highlighted in a story in the Climate Online, indicate the AOT program is working.

After a year in the program, clients saw

  • 66% reduction in the number of days spent in jail

  • 13% drop in homelessness

  • 50% reduction in episodes of hospitalization

Length of hospital stays also reduced significantly, from 252 days prior to the program to 96 after. Episodes of psychiatric emergency services dropped from 35 to 21.

Such reductions in jail time, emergency response, and hospital services have saved the county considerable money. And, the services and care provided allow Christopher and other vulnerable neighbors to move toward wellness and live in the community with dignity.

Caminar launched the AOT program in August 2016. The program uses the Full Service Partnership’s “whatever it takes” approach to support individuals with serious mental health conditions to move toward wellness, recovery, and independence.