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Study: 'Living Room' offers alternative treatment for emotional distress
Date:1/7/2014

CHICAGO Emergency departments may not be the best choice for persons suffering from severe mental illness or emotional distress. According to a new qualitative study by DePaul University School of Nursing researchers, persons in a mental health crisis may be better served in an alternative recovery-oriented, homelike environment instead of a traditional emergency department.

"Hospital emergency departments are not set up for people with emotional problems. Most people with emotional distress come from a chaotic environment and need a safe or calm space to receive proper attention and treatment," said Mona Shattell, a co-author on a paper published Jan. 7 in the journal Issues in Mental Health Nursing titled "A Recovery-Oriented Alternative to Hospital Emergency Departments For Persons in Emotional Distress: 'The Living Room.'" Shattell is an associate professor of nursing in DePaul's College of Science and Health where she also serves as associate dean for research and faculty development.

The DePaul research team interviewed 18 participants who spent time at The Living Room an outpatient, voluntary program for persons in emotional distress, operated by Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, and funded through the Illinois Department of Mental Health. The program, which is staffed with a licensed professional counselor, registered nurse and trained peer counselors, is in a space that is arranged and furnished like a living room in a person's home.

"As researchers and community partners, we were interested in the individual experience of The Living Room," wrote the authors. Those interviewed for the study included the professional clinical staff and peer counselors, as well as patients (referred to as "guests") who were in a crisis, suffering from self-reported psychiatric diagnoses ranging from depression to Asperger's syndrome.

"Participants in our study had experiences as
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Contact: Jon Cecero
JCecero@depaul.edu
312-362-7640
DePaul University
Source:Eurekalert  

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