LINC (Linking Individuals & Navigating Care)
The Loudoun County Community Services Board has partnered with PRS, Inc., a nonprofit helping those living with serious mental health issues, to start LINC (Linking Individuals and Navigating Care). LINC is a coordinated specialty service program designed to help adolescents and young adults, ages 16-30, who have experienced a first psychotic episode. The program is made possible through a grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness
, 20 percent of youth between the ages of 13 and 18 have or will have a serious mental illness; 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14; and 75 percent begin by age 24. Unfortunately, the average length of time between onset of the illness and getting help is almost a decade, complicating recovery efforts. LINC seeks to lessen the gap by providing help much earlier.
LINC’s goal is to help young people and their families understand and manage symptoms of mental illness, while also building skills and supports that allow them to be successful in work, school, and life in general. The program consists of an integrated team from PRS and MHSADS which provides individualized and flexible services to the participants in the program. These services include family education and support, care from a coordinated team of professionals, assistance with getting and keeping a job, and assistance with meeting educational goals. Participation in the program may continue for up to two years as needed. Participants must reside in Loudoun County, be willing to participate in services, and have had their first experience of psychosis within the past 24 months.
The program also focuses on clients’ families so they can better understand mental illness and learn ways to support their loved one and instill a hope for recovery. Data show that working with families helps reduce relapse rates, improves recovery outcomes and increases overall family well-being.
To learn more about LINC, call Debra Schuetz, MHSADS, at 703 771-5239 or contact her by email
More information about PRS is online here