From a Life of Homelessness and Despair to one of Optimism and Healing

Date: 04/01/2018

Tampa, FL

It seems like Ashley had been in crisis her whole life, growing up in foster care, attempting  multiple suicides after losing custody of her children, and enduring numerous psychiatric hospitalizations for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Following her most recent hospital discharge in Jacksonville, Ashley moved to Tampa where she was able to stay with a friend for two days, but without supports or plans in place. So just two days in Tampa, she was homeless and had no way to refill her psychiatric prescriptions or any transportation. She also had no local psychiatric provider or mental health services or supports.

She was in crisis once again and experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Ashley was referred to Sunshine Health’s Rapid Response System (RCRS) for mobile crisis stabilization and follow-up supports. RCRS, a person-centered program provided to Sunshine members through Cenpatico Behavioral Health, is proven to be successful in rapidly de-escalating crisis situations, preventing or eliminating unnecessary pharmaceutical interventions, and decreasing emergency department visits and hospitalizations. In additional a 24/7 crisis hotline, the program includes the availability of mobile crisis teams in several Florida counties.

The Mobile Crisis Team (MCT) in Tampa was dispatched twice for Ashley, and on both occasions they de-escalated the crisis by developing adequate safety plans and wrap-around services (a community and strengths-based highly individualized plan to meet the needs of individuals with complicated, multi-dimensional challenges) to enhance Ashley’s stability and safety in the community, thereby avoiding additional psychiatric hospitalizations.

Team members assisted her in finding housing at a boarding house on the day she needed it and arranged for her medications to be filled and delivered by the pharmacy on the date required. They also completed a referral for a bus pass Ashley could reach her follow-up appointments.

From transportation to housing to the coordination of a psychiatric provider and medication services, as well as therapeutic, medical, and case management services, Ashley receives ongoing support from a multi-disciplinary team.

Now, as a volunteer at her boarding house, Ashley has become an advocate, welcoming and encouraging of others who arrive in crisis, making them feel comfortable and supported. She also answers the phone and assists in the office.

“It’s been very helpful to have the support of the [RCRS] hotline and Mobile Crisis Team,” said Ashley. “I can call them any time to talk and they also call me to ask how I’m doing, so I know they care.”

With their help, she added, “I have a place to live where I am making friends, and I feel like I have a support system and sense of community. With all the services and support in place, I am managing my depression, and even though it’s hard sometimes, I know I have help whenever I need it.”

Her RCRS Mobile Crisis Team members, Clinician Alison Kimball, LCSW, and Intervention Specialist Devenia Roberts, are in awe of what Ashley has accomplished.

Said Devenia, “Ashely is a strong woman and a survivor. She goes above and beyond to help others in need, is very caring, and she is instrumental in developing a sense of community and supports at her placement home.”

Added Alison, “Ashley continues to be proactive and take steps towards her goal, despite adversity. She is successfully managing her mental health and maintaining stability in the community with her supports and services. It’s a pleasure to continue to support her on her journey to healing.”

“LifeShare continues to work closely with enrollees of Sunshine Health by providing a crisis hotline 24/7 and mobile crisis services in Duval, Polk, and Hillsborough Counties,” said Cenpatico Clinical Medical Management Assistance Manager, Tonia James, which serves Sunshine Health.

“They collaborate with the Health Plan and Cenpatico on enrollees. They have worked hard to develop a network and establish rapport with hospitals, crisis stabilization units, community providers, and housing resources to link and refer enrollees to services,” she added. “LifeShare has a continuum of care to deliver the appropriate level of care at the right time, based on the needs of the enrollee. We look forward to continuing to have this positive impact on the lives of those we serve together.”

About Sunshine Health® 

Sunshine Health is committed to ensuring that members are involved in their care planning. Sunshine know that member outcomes are better when members and their families are involved. Sunshine eliminates barriers that affect the member’s quality of life and also focuses on the member’s support network.

About Cenpatico® serving Sunshine Health

Cenpatico’s expertise lies in managing benefits for vulnerable populations. Its healthcare specialties include behavioral health, specialty therapy and rehabilitation, community re-entry, and more. Cenpatico has managed Medicaid and other public sector benefits since 1994 and currently serves more than 2 million members across 17 states. Cenpatico is committed to innovative solutions and designing programs tailored to improving functional outcomes with its members.

About LifeShare

Dedicated to the preservation and safeguarding of civil and human rights, LifeShare’s motto is “Real Life for Real People.” Founded in 1995, LifeShare continues its mission to create empowering home and community-based supports for people with developmental disabilities, children in the child welfare system and people of all ages and abilities, particularly those who are often marginalized by society. LifeShare offers a range of services including residential, community-based and in-home support programs, competitive employment, as well as mental health services for children and adults.

A national organization headquartered in Manchester, NH, LifeShare provides services in seven states (NH, ME, MA, RI, FL, GA, SC) and also consults with Medicaid Managed Care organizations, commercial insurers, and state governments. For more information about LifeShare and/or its RCRS Program, visit, or call 603-625-8825.