Meeting the Growing Need for Mental Health Services
The Rev. Dr. Jim Fruehling has one goal in his time at Mosaic – to find a way that he is no longer needed.
“I fully intend to work myself out of a job,” he said.
Fruehling is a part of a team working to give Mosaic employees the tools they need to provide services for people with disabilities and mental health concerns, a growing population in the United States.
In addition to being pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Fruehling is a licensed psychologist and Mosaic’s Vice President of Behavioral and Spiritual Supports. He is working with Karen Fry, a board-certified behavior analyst and Mosaic’s Mental and Behavioral Health Director.
“The clinical expertise needed by some of the people we support is not always there in the community,” Fruehling said.
“That makes their situation a lot more complicated,” Fry added. “What we have recognized is that more people who are going to be referred to Mosaic (in the future) for services are going to have more complicated issues.”
Those complications can lead to a person exhibiting undesirable behaviors that can affect a person’s ability to lead a meaningful life, Fry said.
“Just like any of us, when we have behavior that is undesirable, our lives aren’t as high quality as they could be,” she added. “[Undesirable behavior] interferes with everything.”
“It’s going to let us bring a deeper level of competence and skill into Mosaic,” said Nancy Potter, a Program and Training Development Director at Mosaic. “It’s really important to understand the individual and their needs in all aspects, and behavior is one aspect of that.”
Potter is one of five Mosaic employees taking graduate courses in applied behavior analysis with the end goal of becoming board-certified behavior analysts or assistant behavior analysts.
“It’s just a wonderful way to grow our staff internally and grow our mission as a whole,” Potter said. “Building our own experts internally helps make sure Mosaic’s mission stays at the heart.”
The employees work closely with Fry to provide behavioral support in their geographic area on top of their other duties at Mosaic. Fry and Fruehling also have provided practical behavioral training sessions for nearly 400 employees in 19 agencies. This will allow Mosaic to better adapt to the needs of future and current clients.
“The long-term goal is to help Mosaic develop local expertise in all of the agencies,” Fry said.
Behavior and mental health affect much of the work that Mosaic does, including the safety and well-being of people, making sure people can be connected and active in communities, reducing employee turnover and much more.
“When we can help people move from undesirable behaviors in a way that is not punitive, a way that gives unconditional love, it makes lives better,” Fry said.
In the end it all works for Mosaic’s mission of partnering with people with intellectual disabilities to create meaningful lives.
Ultimately, that’s what matters most, Potter says. “This is going to allow us to serve people better.”