The Second Chances Mental Health Program Provides First Successes for People with Chronic Mental Illness in Houston

The Second Chances Program at West Oaks Outpatient Clinic is the only evidence-based Social Learning Program being used in the Houston area for psychiatric patients with chronic mental illness.  The goal of the program is to assist these people in obtaining a more meaningful and independent life.

Based on the successful Second Chance Program at New York Hospital Cornell, Second Chances works with people who have had multiple inpatient hospitalizations and have shown little progress with outpatient treatment.  Most of the clients are unemployed, disabled, living in personal care homes, or have become too much for their families to manage.

Using a Social Learning model, licensed therapist focus on positive behaviors and use a token economy and level systems to teach social and coping skills as well as pre-vocational skills.

The therapists work very closely with the families, personal care home owners, outside doctors, the Department of Rehabilitative Services, and other supports to coordinate care.  Free trainings are offered twice a year for providers and family members who want to learn more about utilizing the program in their homes to improve mental health.

A graduate of Second Chances will have obtained employment, a vocational training, volunteer position, school admission, or some other meaningful activity

The Second Chances Program works closely with the Chronic Consumer Stabilization Initiative (MHMRA/HPD), Fort Bend Mental Health Court, and Harris County Guardianship Program to improve the lives of some of their most chronic clients.

The system has given up on many of the people in Second Chances.  They have been labeled ‘frequent fliers’ and have spent months in and out of hospitals and jails.  They need a Second Chance, a new opportunity with an approach that is proven to work

Contact:    The Excel Centers of West Oaks Hospital
713-774-0606 Houston

The Second Chances Program Success Stories

TJ – A 26 year old young woman with a history of trauma and sexual abuse, diagnosed with bipolar and personality disorder.  TJ has been hospitalized over 100 times since age 13 for self-injurious and aggressive behaviors.  She has been arrested so many times that she was identified by Harris County as one of the 30 most frequent people to utilize 911 and emergency services and was placed in the CCSI (Chronic Consumer Service Initiative) Program.
Since admission to the program about 1 year ago, TJ has been hospitalized approximately four times.  She was discharged 6 months ago for aggressive behavior and told that she could only return after 90 days without physically aggressive behavior.  She was motivated to return and accomplished this goal.  She was readmitted into Second Chances and has not been hospitalized or engaged in self injurious behavior since.
TJ has completed a DARS assessment and is waiting to start a vocational training.

BK – A 31 year old male diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder referred to Second Chances by the Ft. Bend County Mental Health Court/Probation after being arrested and re-arrested several times for behavior related to his mental illness.  Since his admission, he has not been arrested or hospitalized.  He has been medication compliant and was motivated to complete treatment and his probation mandates.  BK has completed his DARS assessment and is awaiting vocational training.  He graduated in June of 2012 and has since increased his independence; drives his own car, moved to a more independent living situation, and is traveling to visit his family in Arizona.

WV – A 34 year old male diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and mild Asperger’s.   He also abused his medication. In the four months prior to his admission to Second Chances he had been admitted to the hospital 11 times.  Since his admission to Second Chances one year ago he has been hospitalized 1 time. He has been medication compliant and WV completed his DARS assessment and is awaiting vocational training.

KK – A 31 year old female with Schizophrenia and a history of trauma referred to Second Chances by UBH.  Prior to her admission 4 months ago she was admitted to the hospital monthly with long inpatient stays and the inability to remain stable out of hospital.  Since her admission she has not been hospitalized and is currently working with therapist to identify an appropriate volunteer opportunity.

CJ – A 31 year old male diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Mild Mental Retardation.  CJ is a registered sex offender referred to Second Chances by Ft. Bend Mental Health Court /Probation after repeatedly violating his probation.  CJ was historically noncompliant with medication and treatment and was hospitalized monthly.  CJ was not hospitalized during while in treatment in Second Chances and has since graduated.  He attends The Gathering Place and volunteers at the Food Bank.  CJ enjoys taking the bus and being more independent.  He has remained out of the hospital for two years.

Contact:  Director of Outpatient Services
West Oaks Hospital