New residential facility providing a home for those struggling with mental illness
A new residential treatment program in St. Paul is helping those struggling with mental illness find stability. The Landing of Minnesota opened on Rice Street last month.
“There is hope, there is hope out there,” said a woman who identified herself as Queen, one of the residents at The Landing of Minnesota. “I want people to understand your diagnosis is not who you are, you have to move forward.”
Her mental health journey spans 30 years, starting with a bipolar diagnosis at 14 years old.
Queen, a mother who spent more than a decade as a truck driver, has experienced hospitalizations throughout her life as a result of her mental illness. She explained a social worker referred her to The Landing after a challenging time last fall.
“I’ve been hospitalized more times in the last three or four months than I have in the last 15 years because of my bipolar and my health issues,” she said, explaining she had a bad mania episode. “Just home life, me not taking care of me, the extreme weight loss, the medications, it was a bunch of things that accumulated.”
This is her first time in a residential program like this.
There are 14 beds at The Landing, which is a combined Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) and Residential Crisis Stabilization (RCS) program. 12 of the beds are for IRTS, while the other two are for crisis stabilization, according to Drew Horowitz, the owner.
“We are used as a short-term crisis center for individuals that don’t have a place to go that are exhibiting mental health symptoms that maybe don’t meet the criteria for a hospital or hospitalization,” said Horowitz. “Then there is the intensive residential service, which is more long-term, 30 to 90 days, depending on the need of the client.”
There are 65 IRTS and RCS providers in the state. Only 21 of them are combined programs, of which two are located in St. Paul, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
“We’ve received 88 referrals in under three weeks of being open,” said Horowitz. “Since the pandemic, mental health in general has become exasperated.”
This program is a continuation of work he began years ago, after finding himself sober, and stable from different mental health disorders. He became a licensed counselor and eventually started an addiction and mental health consulting firm.
“I was in a psychiatric hospital with a client of mine,” he explained. “This person didn’t have a lot of resources and they couldn’t find an adequate place to receive mental health care and I was genuinely frustrated.”
As a result, he started working on plans to create The Landing.
“My greatest stress is I wish I had more beds to help more people,” said Horowitz.
It’s been a place of respite for Queen.
“The compassion is phenomenal here, I’ve never been comfortable in a spot like this,” she said. “They give up their lives to help us, they give up their holidays, they give up family time and watching their kids grow to be here to help us.”
Queen hopes to eventually become a peer support specialist at the Landing.
“There is hope out there. In 30 years, I’ve never known a place like this,” she said.