"IOP changed my life in the best way possible." – Intensive Outpatient Program client
Clients of The Village’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in Fargo come from all walks of life. Professionals. Unemployed. Stay-at-home moms. Homeless.
By the end of their time in the program, they’ve found they are a lot more alike than different.
They’ve also found stability. Sobriety. Housing. Employment. People who were planning to file for long-term disability have decided to engage in the workforce again. Parents have gotten their children back from Child Protective Services. Couples headed for divorce found their way home.
“The IOP program at The Village literally saved my life,” said one client. “After two serious suicide attempts, The Village was the first place (even after 21 days in inpatient) to tell me the seriousness of my actions and walk me through the steps to heal and move forward.”
The Village IOP provides an important level of care, bridging a gap in mental health services, says Supervisor Jennifer Reid. It’s a step down for clients coming from an inpatient or partial hospital setting, and something more than weekly counseling sessions. Clients seeking mental health services for the first time can be admitted almost immediately.
Soon after The Village launched IOP at the Fargo office in June 2017, daily client numbers reached three times what was planned for, demonstrating how needed the program is in the Fargo-Moorhead community.
Division Director Darrin Tonsfeldt says the addition of IOP means primary care providers in the area now have a place to refer clients who may have spent their lives in and out of treatment.
“It allows us to help individuals suffering from more serious mental health issues,” Darrin says. “When the community looks at The Village, we really do have a continuum of behavioral health care.”
IOP meets for three hours a day, four days a week. Clients gather in a group setting for processing support and skills-building and receive a variety of education from community and agency resources. They’re provided case management, individual and family therapy.
The program is completely customized to each person’s situation. Most clients take part in IOP for six to 12 weeks before discharge.
Change happens fast in group settings, Jennifer says, as the participants support each other and push each other to grow. The experience normalizes their mental health challenges.
“(IOP taught me) how to handle and cope with my anxiety, which helps with my depression,” one client said. “I am grateful for The Village and the counselors that have helped so much.”
“I am so relieved that this option is here,” another client said, “it feels like a literal life saver.”
To learn more about The Village's IOP, call 701-451-4900. This article originally appeared in The Village's 2017 Annual Report.