Elana Bouldin and Heather Sherbert of Springboard Community Services talk with Quinton Askew, president and CEO of 211 Maryland about mental health support, the 211 Care Coordination program and Springboard programs and careers.
1:42 About Springboard
4:07 Youth services in Baltimore City
5:33 Mental health services
9:10 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)
12:26 211 Care Coordination program
19:17 Caring for employees
20:15 Adopt a Family
21:05 Connecting with Springboard
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to What’s the 211? podcast. My name is Quinton Askew, president and CEO of 211 Maryland. I am excited to have our guests today, Miss Elana Bouldin, Deputy Chief Program Officer, and Heather Sherbert, 211 Care Coordinator with Springboard Community Service.
About Springboard Community Services
Quinton Askew (1:02)
Can you tell us about your roles with Springboard?
Elana Bouldin (1:47)
I am the Deputy Chief Program Officer here at Springboard. Our agency has a total of four locations in Baltimore City, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, and I oversee the day-to-day operations of all of our programs.
Heather Sherbert (2:02)
I am the 211 Care Coordinator with Springboard Community Services. I oversee all of our new programming with 211 and our Care Coordination line and establishing new relationships with the hospitals across Maryland.
Quinton Askew (2:16)
So we know Springboard offers a variety of different services. How do folks normally connect with Springboard when trying to get access to services?
Elana Bouldin (2:24)
We’re very heavily embedded in the communities that we serve. So, we are networking with local government agencies. We’re networking with the State Attorney Offices and other partnering agencies to attract referrals. We are largely funded by a grant for the Victims of Crime in the State of Maryland. So, we use those funds for outreach and to make sure that we are connecting with victim service providers to be able to provide support to the clients that we serve.
Quinton Askew (2:52)
Can you tell us about the services you offer, focusing on the programs to address abuse and support for the homeless and unstably housed youth and adults? So, can you share just a little about what services are provided in those areas and some of the work you all do?
Elana Bouldin (3:08)
So our agency has three major programs. We have counseling, we’ve got case management, and we also have a housing program. Under the guise of counseling is also our medication management program. So in totality, our program largely serves victims of crime here in the state of Maryland, based specifically in the central Maryland region.
We provide intensive case management services through the Family Violence Program. Anyone who has been either victimized by a crime or is a secondary victim; maybe it’s a witness or a family member, we would provide them case management services.
They would also be eligible for counseling services and medication management services as well.
And, then we also provide general counseling to anyone who is seeking out therapeutic behavioral health services, maybe through their insurance company or by word of mouth, just referring for individual counseling and medication management.
Youth Services in Baltimore City
Elana Bouldin (4:07)
One of the things that we’ve been excited about recently is the development of youth services here in our Baltimore City office. Earlier in the year, we had a grand opening for our youth Resource Center, where we have drop-in services for youth aged 14 to 24. We provide workshops, assistance with vital records, case management services, and people can drop in just for food, showers, laundry and sometimes it’s just a safe place for them to be able to hang out so that they don’t have to be out on the streets.
We see a number of unstably housed and homeless youth that are coming through our program, and we are a navigation site for those youths.
We are entering them into the coordinated access system here in Baltimore City so that they can be matched with housing that is appropriate for them.
Sometimes they end up circling back to our program because we also offer rapid rehousing services to youth where we are providing a subsidy of housing for 12, up to 24 months, for our youth with a goal ultimately of creating self-sufficiency so that they can live independently.
Quinton Askew (5:19)
That’s great, you know, especially in Baltimore City. Most of the programs that you offer are statewide, correct?
Elana Bouldin (5:24)
Well, in the central Maryland region, so Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Howard, and in Harford County.
Mental health services
Quinton Askew (5:33)
A heavy focus of that work at Springboard, I know, is really around case management, mental health and counseling, kind of that holistic point of view. What additional mental health services do you provide?
Elana Bouldin (5:43)
Everyone is eligible for psychiatric evaluation, ongoing individual counseling, and we are going to be starting up some behavioral health groups very soon.
There is obviously a very, very, very strong demand for mental health services. And unfortunately, we don’t always have as many providers as we would like to be able to meet that need.
So, what we’ve done in a couple of our offices is we’re starting to pilot some behavioral health groups so that even if you aren’t able to see a counselor individually, you can come to the group and be able to be served that way until an individual counselor is available.
As I mentioned, we do also have medication management services. So, we have a psychiatric evaluation in that program and ongoing medication management services with our medical director.
Quinton Askew (6:33)
So, with the health service that you are providing, how has that changed since the pandemic? You know, 211 calls have increased dramatically around behavioral health and crisis. How are things changed for you all since the pandemic with mental health?
Elana Bouldin (6:46)
I think it’s just important to recognize the effects of the pandemic, even though the physical risk is not there as much anymore, that there are still many, many people struggling with grief and loss. And that could be the loss of a family member who passed during the pandemic. And it could also be just the loss of stability that so many people felt as a result of the pandemic. People are still kind of trying to dig their way out of a hole that was created by the pandemic, be it through their finances, employment or their physical health. So, we are absolutely seeing a greater demand for services.
It’s just really, really challenging to meet that need. Because as we are trying to manage the referrals coming our way, we’re also finding that it’s hard, you know, during the Great Resignation, to locate qualified and compassionate candidates who want to be able to provide the services. So, I think we’re trying to stabilize as much as we can and meet the need because we do serve the underserved. So, we definitely want to make sure that we have the staff to be able to serve them.
Quinton Askew (7:55)
Okay, and why is case management so important?
Heather Sherbert (8:06)
I think what we’ve learned over the course of providing the multiple services that we provide across Central Maryland, what we understand is we’re seeing individuals that are coming in that are really struggling. If we’re able to touch not only them, but you know, touch some other space in their life where they need additional support, they seek mental health services. But, they may have challenges keeping stable housing or keeping employment because their mental health is so poor, also understanding who their support systems are. So, as these individuals move toward stability, really touching family members and their support systems around them to bring them in to really understand how we can look at either the whole family or a supportive environment to move them to stability and safety.
Quinton Askew (8:55)
Springboard offers a variety of services but also training, and so I know you guys offer ACEs training for the public. Can you tell the audience what that is and what you do for that?
Elana Bouldin (9:10)
Sure. So the ACEs work that we do kind of started with a grant that we received from the Harford County government. It’s called the Reducing ACEs Grant. And that kind of pushed us, propelled us, to educate the community.
The whole premise of ACEs, which is Adverse Childhood Experiences, is to create self-healing communities. And, so we were kind of spearheading that work out in Harford County with a steering committee with individuals from various agencies to be able to help to build that self-healing community.
ACEs, or again, Adverse Childhood Experiences basically say that the things that happened to you when you were young can have significant long-term impacts on your health and your well-being as you grow older. It could be things that we don’t even take into consideration. ACEs, of course, would be heavily traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect.
But, it could also be parents getting divorced. It could be witnessing violence in the home. There is a questionnaire that has 10 questions. And basically, the ACEs data says that if you have just two or more of those questions in the affirmative, your health outcomes could change. If you have four or more, you could be more susceptible to things like diabetes and things like cancer.
Six or more, I believe, says that you are a significant number of times more likely to become an intravenous drug user.
We recognize that in order to try and do our part in stopping ACEs, is to educate the communities. So that work started out in Harford County. But now we have five trainers within the agency who are able to provide the ACE interface training, the training can be up to, I think, eight hours long. It’s a very, very in-depth training about the experiences but also about the impact to the brain.
This is how stress chemically and biologically affects the brain and changes the brain and talks about how generational trauma can occur. It’s a really impactful training.
We are looking forward to bringing that to our other jurisdictions beyond Harford County now that we have more individuals trained.
Impact of ACEs training
Quinton Askew (11:31)
Once people go through that training, do you see that sort of a difference in how now they are interacting with others, taking into consideration what they’ve learned?
Elana Bouldin (11:39)
Absolutely, because a large part of ACEs is also focused on building resilience. And so I think, you know, just having been a participant in a few of the trainings myself, you realize, even as a parent, the things that you want to avoid doing to make sure that your child does not have or is not exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences, because something that we may consider to be so small can have such a huge impact.
So, making sure that we’re providing services to our youth that’s a big part. Recognizing that they are in those critical moments of making or breaking as far as Adverse Childhood Experiences are concerned. And so that is why we want to make sure that we are developing new services here in the Baltimore City office and beyond.
211 Care Coordination
Quinto Askew (12:26)
That’s good. And so you know, we are excited to talk about our new partnership with you around 211 Care Coordination program. And so it’s one of the things we’ve been able to partner with the Maryland Department of Health, Behavioral Health Administration, and provide support to our emergency room partners, for those who are stuck in the emergency room needing outpatient behavioral health services.
Can you talk a little bit about your 211 Care Coordination role and the role you want to play with the program?
Heather Sherbert (12:52)
As a 211 Care Coordinator, in my role daily, I am looking at referrals that we’re receiving from hospitals that are being trained about our services, how to utilize our services, and how to get to us. And, as I’m getting referrals from discharge planners and social workers from hospitals, I’m then reviewing, I’m assessing, and really understanding what the patient needs and what will be helpful to not only the patient but to the hospital to get them discharged safely back into the community.
So, we’re really assessing what they have entered the hospital emergency department for, looking at some of the information that they’ve shared while they’re staying at the hospital. And then looking at what kind of resources we can provide – community-based resources to get them safely back to either therapy, case management, you know, a combination of both some wraparound services, working with youth and their parents to really get kids safely back home if they’ve been displaced. All of those are the work of what our day looks like as we’re receiving referrals.
How care coordination works
Quinton Askew (14:05)
Okay, so one thing that you all do very well, as you know, is that partnership and coordination. So, I know a lot of this work is in partnership with hospitals across the state and especially on our state and local partners and working with, you know, state coordinators as well. And, so how is that process work being able to coordinate and partner and manage as you’re providing supports to others?
Heather Sherbert (14:25)
So, on a regular basis, we’re working with hospitals that we’re receiving referrals from, and we’re providing case consultation. So that happens generally with, you know, a team of folks that come together with the care coordination team, and we’re looking to talk about patients that are currently experiencing an overstay, but also, we’re talking about potential referrals.
I have folks in the emergency department, and I’ve had a 16-year-old come in that has some community-based needs, and mom is not willing to come to pick them up. And I don’t know how we’re going to safely discharge this individual. So we’re talking about if these referrals make sense. Is this something that a 211 Care Coordinator can help us with?
Then we’re really circling back in these care coordination meetings to talk about, we haven’t had a lot of luck. And we need to escalate these cases because we haven’t been able to find placement, either fast enough or placement that’s appropriate.
We often see individuals that might have needs that are both medical and a mental health need. And so we rely on our state coordinators to support us as we escalate cases to them and we work in accordance with them to get folks again safely placed in the community based on the needs that they have.
Quinton Askew (15:50)
One of the ways that the discharge planners will connect with you and trying to refer a patient is through 2-1-1 press 4. So what’s that experience, like when someone calls in here, you went the other way? What generally happens?
16:04 Heather Sherbert (16:04)
So when we receive a call on the 211 Care Coordination line, oftentimes, that’s a discharge planner or a social worker that’s working with a patient that’s in the hospital. It comes with questions, and what kind of solutions can you give me? Sometimes there’s often, and you know, we’ve tried everything we’ve been trying to place this patient for, you know, over a month or more. Sometimes we see individuals that have been in the hospital for months. And so, really, the discharge planners are looking to us to provide them additional support.
You know, again, we’re talking about different scenarios, different supportive services that are already in place. Are they working with government entities, is CPS involved? Is APS (Adult Protective Services) involved or the police department? Do they have any pending charges? What their current medical needs are? How complex the case might be? You know, what kind of support systems do they have? Is there an individual or family member that can support them in discharging them safely until we can get them to some community-based services?
So we’re really having lots of that good conversation to really benefit our work on the care coordination side. And then we start moving that process forward as quickly as we can, moving toward resources, making phone calls and connecting with community-based partners. Really trying to advocate for these patients that are in an overstay space, alongside of working with the hospital staff who have already really been trying everything they know how to do to safely get them back into the community.
Quinton Askew (17:37)
Okay. And so, you know, based on your experience, what impact do you think has and will have on the emergency room departments, on the communication back and forth with the discharge planners and hospital workers? Like, what do you see as kind of an impact with this work?
Heather Sherbert (17:51)
Well, I see this as an opportunity, right? I see this as an opportunity for us to reach those individuals when they’re really at their lowest times, they’re entering into the emergency departments really out of some of them of desperation, they don’t know where to go, they don’t have any support systems, they’re really desperate for help.
It gives us the opportunity as a service provider, a longtime service provider in the community, to start to not only use the skills that I have from my experiences and the services that we provide at Springboard but also those connections that we have in the community to really help get individuals placed with a good supportive support system. That can be mental health, it can be in a combination with some wraparound services with case management. Really looking at what all options are, to get them back to good health, whether that be mental health, whether that be their physical health or both.
And then oftentimes working with, again, family members that are really desperate parents, that are really struggling, their children have had multiple stays at the hospital out of desperation, they don’t know where else to turn, and so they’re also in need of support systems to help them understand better how to advocate for their children and themselves and really how they can bring these kids home and safely get them what they need.
Caring for employees
Quinton Askew (19:17)
That’s really heavy work and so, especially with the counseling that you are doing, case management and support, so how do both of you kind of take care of yourselves and other staff?
Elana Bouldin (19:28)
I think that a great deal of my leadership is in finding the humor because we’re working with such heavy, heavy work and so much trauma. So, being able to take a moment and laugh just to break away from that constant vicarious trauma, that constant exposure to horrible, horrible things. It’s just really important. Unplugging for a moment, even if it’s five minutes, even if it’s 10 minutes. I commend the people who I see eating in the lunchroom instead of in their offices. Because even that is huge because the work can be so great sometimes. But, you know, finding time to laugh and to Team Build is important.
Adopt a Family
One of the things I also noticed on the website is that you re having an Adopt a Family event coming up. What’s that about? How can others help support that?
We’re excited about the Adoptive Family Program. We’ve been doing it for years now. And really, like I mentioned, since we’re serving the underserved, we want a way to be able to give back and to help them to have a happy holiday season despite limited resources. So right now, we’re actually in the phase of recruiting donors. If anyone would like to be a donor to one of our families or to just donate a monetary contribution, we would love that. You would go to our website. You click on the Donate tab and you’ll find a link to the adoptive family page. You can sign up to be a donor right there.
Connecting with Springboard
Quinton Askew (21:05)
Perfect. And so, we know Springboard is a profit, as you just mentioned. How can you know you mentioned the website, you can share that for us one more time, but how can folks who are interested in supporting the work and volunteering or some of the needs of the organization and I think go to the website other other social media handles that people can utilize and check out?
Elana Bouldin (21:23)
Yes, so we are on Facebook, Springboard Community Services. We’re on LinkedIn and Instagram. We’ve got a very dedicated marketing team that works diligently to post continuously, so please definitely check out our Facebook and our Instagram pages, check out our LinkedIn page if you’re looking for employment because we’re always recruiting compassionate, qualified candidates who want to really do meaningful work. That’s what we’re doing here rewarding meaningful work,
Quinton Askew (21:55)
Is that for case management in counseling therapy as well for those positions?
Absolutely, case management and counseling. We are always recruiting licensed clinicians, be they provisional licenses or independent licensure. You can go on our website to find out the open job postings and also on Indeed.
Quinton Askew (22:17)
In closing, is there anything else that you all would like to share or make sure that we know?
Elana Bouldin (22:23)
Let me put in one final plug for employment at Springboard where you can come be in an environment where people really want to help. If you want to find a place where you can use your passion and your dedication to serve others, this is a great place to work. It’s a supportive team of like-minded individuals who really just want to do this work.
Quinton Askew (22:47)
Thank you. Definitely, great place to work, great people and, as you said, doing meaningful work.
And so Heather and Elana, appreciate you joining us today. It was a pleasure. I’m looking forward to the continuing partnership and meaningful work and conversations. Thank you.
What’s the 211 podcast was produced with the support of Dragon Digital Radio, at Howard Community College.
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