By Jessica Hoover
Tangram, an Indianapolis-based organization that helps individuals with disabilities plan, support and sustain ways to live actively and independently, launched its HELP Resource Center last summer. The center connects individuals and families to community resources, such as utility assistance, government benefits, insurance providers, food stamps, housing assistance, and child care, among other services.
“Last year, we got a lot of phone calls from individuals who just didn’t know where to start,” said Megan Lauman, manager of life coaching and behavior special projects at Tangram. “There weren’t a lot of services out there that they could call. They were often just handed information or told to go to websites, which aren’t always user-friendly. It made people want to give up, so we started the HELP Resource Center.”
So far, the center has helped 26 people, including Westfield resident Saundra Brantley. She has a developmental disability and a mental disorder which cause manic states and leads to paranoia.
“When I was first introduced to Saundra, she was in a significant and frequent mental health crisis,” Lauman said. “We were able to get her in with a psychiatrist that was able to get her on the right medication. Once that was done, it’s really been night and day. The changes are remarkable.”
Brantley said she was having trouble finding a job before discovering the center because of her anxiety and the trauma of her mother dying in 2011. Brantley also needed help finding health insurance because few mental health providers cover individuals with developmental disabilities.
The HELP Resource Center connected Brantley with experts and resources and she now has health insurance and a job as a house painter.
“I’m working right now, and so far, I like the work that I’m doing,” Brantley said.
The HELP Resource Center is a free, confidential service. For more, visit thetangramway.org/help-resource-center and click Get Started.