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Community Models are the Best Predictor of Mental Health

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According to the latest meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, measures to address inequality and discrimination may be far more effective in combatting mental illness than the emphasis over the past 30 years on medication and therapy. While typical forms of psychotherapy are beneficial in reducing symptoms of depression, looking at mental health from a wellbeing perspective rather than a mental illness perspective may address underlying issues contributing to the mental health epidemic in young adults. Community models that focus on interdependence and belonging are the best predictors of mental health.

Causes of Insecurity

Insecurity refers to much more than just low self esteem and anxiety. Dr. Dainius Puras notes that financial crises, inequality, and social isolation are factors that significantly affect mental health. People feel insecure, they feel anxious, they do not enjoy good emotional wellbeing because of this insecurity situation. He argues, “the best way to invest in the mental health of individuals is to create a supportive environment in all settings, family, and the workplace. Therapeutic services are still needed, but they are inadequate without additional community support. “We need to target relationships rather than brains.”

Need for a Community Model

Author Johann Hari claims that the “opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.” At Journey Home East, many of the young women we help have struggled with anxiety and process addictions that have led to social isolation and low self esteem. Upon graduating from other treatment centers, they claim that their biggest fear about transitioning is not slipping into old patterns, but rather losing the safety and connections they found in the protective environment they had. Journey Home East offers a transitional living option for these girls to help them integrate back into the community with the resources they need to continue adopting a healthier lifestyle. Restrictive environments are beneficial for stabilization, but once they have addressed problem behaviors, they want to focus more on underlying issues that reinforce their cravings to go back to old unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

Benefits of Transitional Living Programs include:


  • They are relationship-based.


The heart of our program is based on creating a safe and nurturing environment that fosters healthy relationships. Our small environment allows girls to connect with peers on a similar journey and to build close relationships with mentors who are available around the clock for support. We help girls learn how to share a space, as they become more independent in their personal lives.


  • They offer real-world experiences.


Located in the middle of downtown Asheville, the girls are able to integrate into the community through, work experience, outdoor activities, and community service. They learn to apply new coping mechanisms that they have learned to situations they experience. The girls learn how to advocate for their needs in a group setting and in a society that stigmatizes mental illness. We emphasize learning practical life skills as well as relational skills to help girls find a community within our program and in the greater community. 

Journey Home East Can Help

Journey Home East is a transitional living program for young women ages 16-21. This program focuses on helping women transition from long-term treatment to the real world by offering a community model. The idea is to wean them off support systems of being in programs for many years and hone in on functional living skills they need to be independent. We believe that ongoing support is necessary for girls who are learning how to live independently while dealing with mental health issues. We follow a mental wellbeing model rather than a mental illness model that focuses on health coaching, personal safety, setting goals, and finding their purpose. Students have the opportunity to equip themselves with the skills they need to lead healthy and successful lives post-treatment. 

For more information about how our community model helps young adults with mental health issues, call 1-855-290-9684. We can help today!