Dr. Gary Morse recently joined some of the foremost leaders in the effort to end homelessness at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Innovations in Case Management Expert Panel.
The two-day conference provided discussion between 10 experts in the field from diverse professional backgrounds and 10 participants from federal agencies. Discussion revolved around the importance of housing, and also the much-needed areas of focus after a person has moved into housing. Morse, Places for People Vice President of Research and Development, said there was valuable discussion about how case managers can help people they are serving live a life that’s meaningful, with purpose and being part of a community after finding stable, permanent housing.
Social isolation can remain a barrier to living with purpose, Morse explained. Case managers can help by designing interventions and develop goals that help reintroduce positive social connections and rebuild relationships with friends and family. “It starts with being mindful and aware that that’s an issue,” he said, adding that in addition to addressing clinical treatment needs, it’s important for case managers to “remember the relationship with the person is the key.”
For Morse, the conference reminded him of a primary reason why he devoted his professional life to social work. “I got into this work about 30 years ago with the naïve idea, ‘let’s end homelessness.’” It was reinvigorating for Morse to meet others who are still fighting for that idea, and to see how much has been learned in the past three decades.
Since 1981, Morse has served in the mental health care field, providing behavioral health services, researching and developing best practices, administering programs, consulting, and training.
The conference’s goal was to discuss case management in the context of literal homelessness or non-permanent housing and permanent supportive housing with a Housing First approach. The intent was for SAMHSA and its partners to gain insight into what has and has not worked well in case management.
Morse participated on two panels. One panel discussed Critical Time Intervention Case Management, and another focused on Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Case Management. Morse presented a brief overview of ACT prior to the start of that panel discussion.
The conversations and panel discussions at the conference will assist SAMHSA and its federal partners in identifying innovative case management models, best practices, and guidelines, as well as financing strategies and gaps in workforce training.