HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

Much needed home for seriously mentally ill men to re-open in Midvale

Dec 22, 2022, 6:25 PM | Updated: 10:50 pm

MIDVALE, Utah — A mental health facility for Salt Lake County’s most needy and vulnerable men is getting ready to re-open after it was shut down a year ago due to deplorable living conditions.

Odyssey House and Salt Lake County partnered to take over the facility in Midvale because there is such a great need for that population.

Shortly after Christmas the newly renovated facility on 7800 South will become a long-term home for 18 men who need around-the-clock support for serious mental health issues.

“We want to show up for the people who don’t have people showing up for them,” Christina Zidow, chief operating officer for Odyssey House said.

Salt Lake County invested nearly $500,000 to rebuild the home and partnered with Odyssey House to operate it.  It’s now updated, clean and welcoming. 

“The individuals who are going to live here all have severe and persistent mental illness,” Zidow said. 

Odyssey House will give residents 24/7 supervision, meals, and medication management.  Many of them struggle with schizophrenia and need medication supervision so they can be well Zidow said.  Some also have substance-abuse issues because that helps them feel better.

“Most of them are pretty ill,” Zidow said. “So, this is a long-term landing pad for them, and we want to make sure that it’s a really safe and encouraging one.“

All of the men are already getting treatment through other programs in the community.

“Our job is to really give them a safe place to live and help them learn some of those basic living skills that they may never have learned or that they may have forgotten along the way,” she said. 

Last January, a sewer line break ultimately made the previous, independently operated facility unlivable, and it was shut down. 

“This type of facility is the intervention that prevents individuals from the last stop in our system, which is psychiatric inpatient hospitalization at the state hospital,” said Seth Teague, senior program analyst for Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services. 

Others might end up homeless.

“And, essentially dying on the streets if they don’t have that intervention, or they’re ending up incarcerated in prison or jail,” he said. “So, this type of facility affords individuals the opportunity to receive services they need to prevent all of that from occurring.”

Some may be able to stabilize and either move home with family or live independently.

“Ideally, we would like them to stay as long as they can. We want this to be a safe, long-term solution for them,” Teague said. 

The residents should start moving in next week.

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