Momentum for Health, one of the largest nonprofit agencies in Santa Clara County, helps youth and adults diagnosed with mental health disorders. The nonprofit focuses on the whole person by recognizing that successful treatment requires viewing the individual’s health through a 360-degree lens.
CEO and president David Mineta said Momentum’s goal is to end the siloed approach to health care. “We want our work to be seen just like any other health care provider,” he said in a prior interview, “and not be stigmatized, feared, or pushed to the side because our services are attached to mental illness.”
Bindu Khurana-Brown, Associate Director of Momentum’s Crisis Stabilization Unit and Mobile Response, said the team addresses an individual’s needs on various levels depending on age and mental health disorder. The programs range from Full Service Partnerships (FSP) for acute care to outpatient programs to crisis management to residential treatment facilities.
Individuals seeking Momentum’s behavioral health services need to be insured through Medi-Cal. They must agree to enter the program voluntarily. Clients aren’t admitted through a 5150 or involuntary hold. They come through a referral.
Susan Cardoza, FSP Program Manager, said referrals come through the Santa Clara County behavioral health call center. The individual or family member calls 800-704-0900 where a clinician will assess the person’s needs and determine the right fit. If the family member calls, the individual must be present to acknowledge a family member can discuss their situation.
Khurana-Brown added that if the family or individual is looking for something more specific, such as services that align with their culture or religion, the call center can help with those referrals as well.
What Are the Options?
One option is the FSP program or Intensive Full Service Partnership (IFSP) program, developed for acute care clients. This is Momentum’s highest level of care, Cardoza said. Clients range in age from 26–59.
To qualify, the person needs to have a history of cycling in and out of the hospital system or the county’s Valley Medical Center Emergency Psychiatric Services (EPS) at least three times, or be experiencing homelessness, or have a history of incarceration or been in and out of the criminal justice system.
Once accepted into the FSP program, the case manager will reach out twice a week via phone or in person. The case manager provides medication support, helps with day-to-day activities, and builds a relationship with the person. The goal is to help them transition back into the mainstream. The case manager may also provide supportive services to someone living in a board and care community.
Sometimes the individual needs IFSP services, an even higher level of outpatient care. Here the individual is supported by a clinician and meets three times a week. In all cases, the individual has a case manager and psychiatrist as part of the wraparound program.
“Sometimes this is the first time anyone is explaining to them why they are hearing voices or having mood swings, “Cardoza said. “We play a major role in providing that human kind of support they haven’t been receiving elsewhere.”
Services Targeted for Adults
Momentum has outpatient services for adults ages 26 and up that aim to help the individual achieve a productive life. These programs are for adults with a mental health diagnosis at a lower intensity level. The nonprofit’s goal is to bring hope into their lives, said Yahna Dick, Momentum’s Assistant Director for Youth and Family Services. The case manager assesses what services can help support their socialization needs such as senior programs to reduce isolation.
The program offers psychiatric and substance use services. There is medication assistance, making sure the individual has a primary care physician, and assisting with other daily needs. The case manager connects with the individual one to two times per month and may even suggest employment options. These adults can stay in the program as long as needed.
Helping Youth Proactively
Early intervention and prevention is at the core of making a difference for youth and young adults experiencing mental health symptoms. Momentum’s REACH program for ages 10–25 is for youth experiencing early or first signs of psychosis—hearing voices, thinking people are reading their thoughts, or having visual hallucinations. The goal is to support them from developing a more severe mental health condition.
Antwon Chatmon, Momentum’s FSP TAY Assistant Manager, said, “This is a holistic support program for families and individuals to help a young person experiencing signs of high stress and psychosis and take them off that track.”
There is also a Transitional-Aged Youth (TAY) outpatient program for ages 16–25. These individuals have a case manager who meets with them one or two times per month. They access weekly individual therapy and psychiatric services on an as-needed basis, usually about once a month.
“These individuals have come from a higher level of care,” Chatmon said. “They have made a lot of progress but feel like they need some additional support.”
Chatmon also manages the FSP program for individuals 16–25 with moderate to severe mental health needs. These teens and young adults may suffer from severe anxiety, depression, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or borderline bipolar or schizophrenia. They receive about 12–14 hours of services a month that include a case manager, individual therapist, and psychiatrist.
An even higher level of care at 14–18 hours per month (about 4–6 hours per week) is also offered. This intense program has a substance use specialist, if needed, family youth advocate, peer support, and psychiatrist.
Crisis Assistance Centers
Momentum has four crisis centers in San Jose for individuals 18 and older. These community- based centers are an alternative to hospitalization. An individual can stay for 30 days and have a full complement of wraparound services—psychiatrist, therapy, group therapy.
“Momentum believes recovery is possible and we don’t believe a diagnosis has to stop someone from living their life,” Khurana-Brown said.
These crisis centers are designed to help the individual stabilize and take ownership of their treatment, Khurana-Brown said. Since they are a patient within the county behavioral health system, the history is available and we don’t have to start from scratch.
There is a cost associated with the board and care component, but the medical services are covered through Medi-Cal.
One other crisis service is Momentum’s Crisis Stabilization Unit, which services adults 18 years and older, and is managed by Khurana-Brown. This is an acute setting for a 24-hour stay, where anyone with Medi-Cal, Medicare, no insurance, undocumented, or not sober can come. It’s an alternative to someone being picked up on a 5150. This is for someone who just needs a brief respite. The individual might be having suicidal ideation and needs some help. Or perhaps it’s someone who has run out of money and can’t pay for their medication and is stressed. The unit is staffed 24/7 with nurses and clinicians. Individuals can come any time and as often as needed, but there must be a 24-hour wait between visits.
Other Momentum Services
Momentum operates one private insurance service, La Selva Group, a 24/7 residential treatment facility, with a complete menu of wraparound care—psychiatrist, therapist,
medication management, group therapy, and a day clinic. Momentum also offers employment services and addiction treatment services.
“Not only does our treatment focus on navigating challenges with medication and symptoms but what about that next step—getting employment and feeling like you can integrate back into society,” Khurana-Brown said. “You don’t have to feel like things have to have a period at the end of a sentence. Sometimes mental health can be that comma, and we really try to help with that.”