How Does Merryman House Build Lives?
At Merryman House, our mission is clear: to save, build and change the lives of those affected by domestic violence in the Purchase Area Development District. We offer a variety of services customized to meet the needs of survivors and their families. Each service falls under one of our three overarching mission objectives: Building, Saving or Changing Lives. In this month’s blog, we answer the question: “How Does Merryman House Build Lives?”
You are undoubtedly familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – the theory that suggests there are five interdependent levels of basic human needs each of which must be satisfied. When a survivor of domestic violence comes to Merryman House in crisis, our first step after assuring them they are safe is to begin addressing those needs. We address two areas of Maslow’s needs in this phase of our work:
Our therapy and support groups help clients and their children rebuild their self-esteem after severe abuse. Our trained staff help them process thoughts and feelings and develop their senses of self-worth.
Belongingness and Love Needs
The loving staff at Merryman House makes sure trauma survivors know how much they matter. They reinforce each client’s self-esteem and help them develop healthy relationships with friends and family so they can move forward in life with solid emotional support systems.
How Merryman House Meets These Needs
We deliver the following services to clients in order to fulfill these needs:
Mental Health Support
Merryman House’s on-site clinical team offers trauma survivors the mental health support they need to deal with the aftermath of their experiences. Clients receive treatment after getting referrals from our advocates.
Merryman House support groups give clients opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings in safe environments. They receive counseling for building self-esteem, setting boundaries, and forming healthy relationships, and they get guidance on how to parent. We also offer trauma-informed yoga to help boost survivors’ mental and physical health, and we host support groups for children to help them process thoughts and emotions.
Clients receive psychoeducation tailored to their specific situations. The Merryman House understands that domestic violence affects people in different ways, touching the mind, body, and spirit. We help guide clients through the healing process and then provide them with education to help break the cycle of abuse.
Through this education, survivors learn warning signs for domestic violence, information on how it affects children, and more. They also discover the basics of safety planning. They learn how to safely exit their homes, where to go once they have left their abusers, and how to communicate their danger to trusted people. The ultimate goal of psychoeducation is to help clients become self-sufficient so they can live free from abuse.
Comprehensive Case Management
Our staff looks at each client as an individual and assesses their situation as a whole. Merryman House case management addresses areas such as abuse history and safety needs, health and physical needs, emotional and psychological issues, legal problems, housing, financial issues, job readiness, educational needs, cultural needs, special needs, and more. Once the needs are identified, specialized advocates, case managers, or licensed professionals meet them on our campus.
Financial Literacy Classes/Economic Empowerment
Financial empowerment is one of the best ways to break abusers’ power over clients. Trauma survivors who become self-sufficient feel less dependent upon their abusers and more able to live their lives in freedom. Economic empowerment counselors at the Merryman House educate clients on credit building and repair, and we also offer several Individual Development Account programs in which clients can receive up to $4,000 in matching funds for new homes and up to $2,000 for cars. We offer other matching grants and microloans, as well, to help trauma survivors back on their feet, along with emergency funds for car repair, medical needs, and outstanding debt.
Clients want to provide safe and loving environments for their children, especially after escaping dangerous situations. The Merryman House offers stability and security for these families while also helping boys and girls heal from their own trauma. We host various programs for children and provide homework assistance, childcare, arts exposure, Christmas parties, and more. We also take them on special trips for fun activities—like plays at the Carson Center—to help enrich their childhoods.
Trauma survivors need jobs before they can rebuild their lives—and they need ways in which to get to those jobs. The Merryman House supplies them with bus passes and taxi fares, if necessary, and our staff provides transportation five days per week. If a client has a medical appointment, we refer them to the Green River Intra-county Transit System (GRITS), which helps supply transportation to the appointment. Medicaid covers the cost for all GRITS services.
Resource connection and referrals
Merryman House works with community partners Mountain Comprehensive Care and Legal Aid to offer trauma survivors the best possible healthcare and legal services. We also refer clients to the following local providers for various resources:
- Goodwill Industries – Clothing and Household Items
- St Vincent de Paul Resale and Thrift Store – Clothing and Household Items
- Starfish Ministries – Clothing and Household Items
- Heartland Church – Clothing and Household Items
- Celebrate Recovery – Addiction
- Four Rivers Behavioral Health – Mental Health and Addiction
- The Carson Center – Entertainment and Services for clients
- West Kentucky Community and Technical College – Education and Salon Services
- Family Service Society – Housing and Clothing Needs
- Paducah Police Department – Various Services
- Lotus – Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy
- McCracken County Library
- McCracken County Extension Office
- Child Watch