Our Year-End Appeal – letter from Dennis

During this past year, more than 1,000 men and women began their journeys toward recovery with McClendon Center. Thanks to you and your generosity, we are able to provide them – and our other 3,000 clients – with quality care, compassion, and services that are changing their lives for the better. Rabbi Alexander, your support is truly helping our clients by giving them hope for a healthier future.

With your support during the past year, Byron was able to get housing after years of waiting and Judith gained the confidence to find full-time employment. And just this past month, one of our Community Support Specialists made sure that her client, Wanda, stayed on her medication in order to stop the cycle of going back into the hospital. Because of you and your generosity, these clients and many others have been able to reach milestones and improve the quality of their lives.

We have had many successes in the past year. We’ve increased the number of men and women we are able to serve; we’ve created a new team that responds in real time to our clients who visit the emergency room in order to decrease return visits; and we have rolled out [Read the rest of Dennis’ message…]

Make Your Gift Today

Donate & save on art stocking stuffers this holiday with the Blick Give & Get event, benefiting our programs!

This Holiday Season we are honored to be partnering with Blick Art Materials in the national Blick Give and Get campaign!  As a charitable partner of this giving event, we’re excited to offer a unique opportunity for you to donate to our art programs.  Visit your local Blick Art Materials retail location between November 29th and December 24th, 2019, to participate.

GIVE: Donate any art supplies purchased at Blick to help support our programs. (The DC Blick location will have a table displaying our Wish List art supplies near the front door!)

& GET: Receive a special offer for 20% off your entire transaction, valid 12/26/19-1/5/20!

See your local store (for locations, visit Store Locations) for more information. 


Shara Cyrus, our former Day Program Clinical Manager, shares her reflections of her years with McClendon Center. Shara left McClendon Center in August to further her career with the DC Department of Behavioral Health, working with children with behavioral health needs.
There are very rare times that a person is lucky enough to find a place that gives them happiness and purpose at the same time. I was lucky enough to find that in 2012 with McClendon Center. When I got here, during training I saw a wonderful dynamic. I immediately felt a comfort and warmth. The clients shared so openly about their thoughts and feelings. I knew I had found a special place.

During my time here, I worked on the early recovery team for co-occurring disorders. On this track, I was fortunate to facilitate the growth of countless clients. They always credited me with teaching them so much, but the truth is that I learned from them every day. I saw clients come in every day dealing with unimaginable stresses. Homelessness… addiction… trauma…. Abuse…. And yet and still they found a way to smile. They got up every day and fought. Not only day by day, but moment by moment. I learned the true value of a support network and saw strangers come in a blossom into people they never thought they could be. And through it all I was able to witness this transformation.

I know it sounds cliché to say that I am a helper but the truth is I am. I am a helping person who landed in a job that fulfilled me daily. I had a chance to grow along with my clients, from temporary staff to permanent staff, and finally to clinical manager. The experience that I gained here could never be compared to anything. McClendon Center is an unforgettable place. From the moment you walk in the door, you know you belong. If there is one overall lesson that anyone can learn from being here it’s this: Never count anyone out. 

September Message – Dennis Hobb

After a summer of mass shootings, it seems as though the national debate on how to fix what is broken comes down to two major options: restrict the availability of guns or define a group of individuals who should have restricted access to guns. This latter group almost always involves defining persons with mental illness as dangerous individuals. I’m not about to wade into the gun debate, but I am ready to actively debate anyone about the  low degree of violence perpetrated by people recovering from mental illness.

Some individuals with mental illnesses actually are prone to violence, but most who experience these tendencies do well with proper treatment. People who have a mental illness are less likely than the general population to commit violent crimes. In fact, people with mental illnesses are much more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators of it. This may be because they appear to be vulnerable, because their economic realities mean they live in unsafe neighborhoods, or just because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. To hear that people are a heightened danger to others just because they are dealing with a mental health condition is uninformed and wrong.

I don’t know the answer as to how to stop mass shootings. But I do know the answer to how to see people with mental illness as being regular law-abiding people. LOOK AROUND YOU. How many people do you know who are getting counseling or who take an anti-depressant medication?  How many children do you know have ADHD? How many returning veterans have you met with PTSD? How many new moms (and dads) have postpartum depression?  Yes, people with some form of mental illness are all around you. They should not be vilified because they are experiencing a medical condition. Whether or not they should have access to guns is beyond my pay grade, but helping people understand the challenges and accomplishments of people recovering from mental illness is right up my alley.

People with mental illness are not pariahs. They are our friends, neighbors, coworkers, children, relatives, etc. And the statistics say that in your lifetime you are likely to also be one of them.

Let’s not stigmatize people who are recovering from mental illness as being dangerous, violent individuals. Instead, let’s acknowledge their challenges, gifts, and victories—that is what we do at McClendon Center. Join our community of friends and supporters and help us continue to spread the message that people can—and do—recover from mental illness.

McClendon Center featured in DCHA’s Quality Showcase

McClendon Center’s Patient Discharge Coordination (PDC) program, a collaboration with AmeriHealth Caritas DC, was featured in the DC Hospital Association Quality Showcase publication. PDC was launched in 2015, with the goal of reducing hospital readmissions and improving HEDIS* measures by seamlessly transitioning and reintegrating individuals from psychiatric hospitalization back into the community. Since its inception, PDC has reduced hospital admissions from 17% to 9% — a 47% readmission reduction.

Read the full article HERE. Click on PDC for more information about this program.

*Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures six “domains of care”: effectiveness, access/availability, experience, utilization, health plan descriptive information, and collected measures through electronic clinical data systems.