Help us continue Ramona's Legacy!
In 2010 our CEO/President Ramona Johnson, APRN, CS established the Bridges to Health Clinic. This integrated physical health service on-site at Bridgehaven was initially conceived as a way to assist our members to better manage not only their mental illness, but also their many and variedchronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. At its beginning, it was staffed by an RN and a Peer Support Specialist who assisted members with smoking cessation. Eleven years later, a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and two Peer Support Specialist Health Advocates, along with an APRN/Nutritionist and other program staff offer a broad array of health and wellness activities.
"When I first heard the statistic that people with serious mental illness are likely to die twenty-five years sooner than those without mental illness, I knew that Bridgehaven was the perfect setting to change this reality for our members” Ramona Johnson says. From that day, it was a dream of hers to create a holistic program to treat mental and physical health together and improving the quality of life for our members. She believes that the mind and body cannot be separated and both must be healthy for people to enjoy wellness. “This program helps people to understand the positive impact that physical activity and healthy eating can have on mental health; that they can manage chronic medical conditions for better physical health and how to take medications as directed for both mental and physical health conditions.” “It is up to us to break down barriers and create opportunities for people," Ramona says.
The Bridges to Health Clinic became a program that provides a variety of ways for members to learn about their mental illness and how treatment with the correct medication and physical exercise can help them be successful in their recovery. Numerous groups provide education about treatments for chronic medical illnesses. The APRN monitors blood sugar levels and blood pressure for those members with diabetes and hypertension, as well as assisting members to manage other medical conditions. The Peer Support Health Advocates attend medical appointments with members, helping them to better understand their physical health issues and their physician’s or APRN’s directions for medications and other needed treatments. Other groups provide access to healthy food such as vegetables and fruits, some of which are grown by members and staff in Bridgehaven’s garden. "With proper management and guidance, we know we have helped save lives" Ramona Johnson says.
About 1/3 of our members are active in the below programs...all part of the "Bridges to Health" Program
- Healthy Eating and Cooking
- Medication Management
- Assistance with medical appointments
- Food for thought
- Diabetes management
- Living with Chronic illness
- Achieving Wellness
- YMCA Membership/Exercise Program
Ramona was breaking down barriers and leaving a legacy by bringing her dream to life. Bridgehaven would not be what it is today without the Bridges to Health Clinic. The clinic activities and programs have enhanced traditional therapy methods and given hope to members who felt they could never recover and attain good health.