This is a program wherein people with emotional problems and illnesses help each other and help themselves by offering mutual support and by listening to speakers. Everyone in the program is encouraged to share responsibility for the program by taking an active part in it.
Two nurses attend every meeting to help facilitate discussions and provide information.
Some people who come to the Reaching Across office are consumers of various mental health services. These may include help provided by psychologists, marriage counselors, psychiatrists, hospitals, ministers and support groups. Other people who come to the office are not receiving any help from various counselors or organizations. They feel that they could someday need counseling due to stress or other problems or illnesses. They come to help prevent future problems or to prevent a reoccurrence of past problems.
People may also come to the office when they are lonely or need other help (ideas on education, jobs, housing, etc.)
Group discussions include: emotions, goals, relationship problems, depression, divorce, death of relatives and friends, family problems, hospitalization, job loss, finding new jobs, various mental health problems, and other subjects clients wish to discuss.
Activities include: picnics, seeing movies together at Fremonts movie theaters, bowling games, eating snacks and having soft drinks at coffee shops, group walks, group bicycling trips, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, and other events which people may wish to do.
Speakers have spoken on such topics as: finding volunteer and paid work, health insurance, obtaining and keeping types of state and federal disability insurance (Social Security Disability), finding low cost housing, and techniques to improve communication. This organization both helps people directly and refers people to other organizations and to doctors.
While some of the staff at the Reaching Across organization are nurses and people with college degrees, the focus is on people who have themselves struggled through challenging situations. People are strongly encouraged to share their difficult experiences with people suffering with similar problems. People who come to the Reaching Across office are considered valuable people with important problems and insights who are capable of helping both themselves and others.