Thank you for taking the time to listen to our voices today. My name is Alysha Clark and I am the Director of Advocacy and Operations at Chrysalis, Inc. I am also a person with lived experience of mental health and substance use challenges. I have been a Certified Peer Specialist for over a decade and had the opportunity to watch the Peer Specialist, Individual Placement and Support and Clubhouse movement grow. At Chrysalis we are lucky enough to have all of these extremely person centered, strength based services in one agency. Chrysalis is a 501(c)3 out of Dane County, Wisconsin- our mission is to promote mental health and substance use recovery in our community by supporting work opportunities that encourage hope, healing and wellness.
Chrysalis and IPS, Individualized Placement and Support, (IPS) a model recognized by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be an evidence based practice- support jobs and the workforce. Over the last 5 years, Chrysalis has supported 660 new job hires earning over $2,000,000 in taxable income. Katherine Ponte writes (NAMI, 2019) people with mental health challenges may be unemployed because Society has been telling us for years that they are not able to do work. Thankfully, society is changing and accepting these changes.
“We are seeing how common it is to have a mental health challenge and how anyone can work and hold meaningful, good paying jobs no matter their mental health status. With programs like supported employment and clubhouses, employers that are willing to work with individuals and their specific needs. Companies are investing in workplace initiatives to have more diversity, equity and inclusion programs and are hiring people with mental health and substance use challenges.”
Currently we are very limited on the funding available to us for these services. These services not only provide tangible tools for employment but they also recognize the humanity each individual with this shared lived experience has.
Cody Vogel, a current Chrysalis Colleague shares the experience of Chrysalis well:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, there have been many words to describe this place………
Community, Teamwork, Growth, Support, Care, Friendship, Even better, A Family. Everyone that walks in the door has something that drives them, pushes them to heal, recover, and continue fighting through their own symptoms of stress. Each and everyone of us plays a part, and we all matter. We all grow off each other to the point where it strengthens us, and to be able to guide each other, and to know none of us are alone. You see in this place he, her, them, you, I, all of us are here to help through the moments of pain, stress, loss, or any other form of struggles. As well as in my moments of sadness this place provides a sense of joy, comfort, laughter, and meaning. With each event or fundraiser that this place does, brings all of us together, AS ONE, NOT DIVIDED. So what is this place I’m talking about??? The place known as Chrysalis. You see everyone that is a part of Chrysalis has been through HURT, but going through the hurt means there is always a way to HEAL. Everyone here is special and has bonds with their colleagues. To me, I know this place is my Community, but also is my Family, and that will NEVER change. Thank You.”
You can support us in continuing our efforts,
At Chrysalis we support Statutory language change to include Certified Peer Specialists and Certified Parent Peer Specialists as Medicaid-eligible providers.
We also recognize the need for Clubhouses to be recognized as a psychosocial rehabilitation service as it is in other states (including Michigan and Ohio.) We ask you to pass Assembly Bill 901 that would provide matching grants to WIsconsin Clubhouse increasing our fundraising efforts. Implementing a Statewide Medicaid option for billing Clubhouse services and billable tables for Clubhouse specific interventions. We have documents and contacts from other states that have implemented the Clubhouse Medicaid Waiver that we are eager to share.
We also need the State to cover the full cost of CSP. We are asking that counties take set-aside GPR to invest into community mental health systems (including Clubhouse, Peer Support, IPS). These services should also be funded via block grants.
Thank you for your time!