As you might imagine, there has been an increase in anxiety, sleeplessness, and nightmares among clients. Things have undeniably changed in our community. However, our individualized approach to care remains – and is more important than ever.

McClendon Center has always provided a 24 hour on call staff member, but recently we have adjusted that.  Each of our five teams now have their own on call staff member. Individual teams know our clients. Knowing their history and individual experiences teams can quickly problem solve with knowledgeable solutions, providing the best care possible.

Last Friday one team responded to a client in crisis and was able to arrange safe accommodations for them that same night. Already in short supply, crisis beds are now even more difficult to access. Immediate psychiatric care has become even more challenging to find as access to emergency rooms has been halted. Being linked to a provider like McClendon Center is essential now to get care.

We are proud to provide that essential support to all our current and new clients. Understandably other agencies have stopped taking on new cases as funds run low and staff is cut. We have not– we are fortunate. We remain fully staffed and are sticking to our commitment to care for our community even in uncertain times.


PS – We are fortunate to continue our work because of generous supporters like you. Your gift, right now, will go to our frontline workers who are providing these critical services in our community. Thank you!

Though we are technically closed we are still working hard. Some of our programs have been interrupted and others modified – but essential services remain. A number of our clients require injections as part of their treatment, which continues. For our injections, we have had to coordinate with all the companies that deliver our medications to ensure delivery on the correct days. Clients have expressed their appreciation for the nurses coming out to their house or being available in the clinic.

A hallmark of McClendon Center is that when we see a need, we find a way to meet that need. We are grateful for your support while we navigate the next few weeks and months. Along with client and staff safety, we are doing our best to keep a sense of consistency. Covid-19 has disrupted all our lives, it has not been easy. However, it is much harder for many of our clients who need a daily routine to stay connected. So, we will continue to provide as much support to them as we make our way through this crisis- together.


PS: Want to help? A donation of any size would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

We wanted to update you on McClendon Center’s Covid-19 response efforts and to thank all of you who have expressed care and concern. We appreciate you.

We have continued to provide care through telehealth services in order to provide social distancing. At the start of this crisis we deployed this method more broadly, fully expecting to not be compensated for it. We have found many clients enjoy this, even look forward to our outreach, as the days of isolation accumulate. Late last week it was announced that telehealth could possibly be reimbursed as a treatment under the circumstances. We are now changing our coding in order to attempt this change.  Nothing, however, can replace the in person relationships that are so meaningful for our clients.  Regardless, we will continue to provide this type of care as long as we can with the resources we have.

We are grateful for our professional and dedicated staff who have worked to overcome every obstacle. We have outreached 993 clients in the past week. An accomplishment we are very proud of. Also notable, 7 clients have been tested for Covid-19. While 2 test results are still pending, 5 have come back negative. We believe our immediate actions in the early stages of this crisis protected both clients and staff.

We want to remind you that we have moved our annual event the Art of Transformation from May to November. We will update you with details as they come and look forward to seeing you all there.

Thank you to all of you that made a donation over the past week. Your continued support is what allows us to continue our work. We are grateful to you for helping us to continue our mission with the least possible interruptions. Thank you.


PS At this time the best way to show support is through a generous donation


It has been an extraordinary couple weeks in the District and the country. There are still many unknowns surrounding the Covid 19 virus. We will do our best to keep you – the McClendon Center family of supporters, friends, and neighbors up to date on our response efforts. Because of the quick escalation of the situation we have closed both McClendon Center locations.

McClendon Center has been through many challenges in our 40 years of service to the community. This experience gives us the ability to adjust when needed. Like in times like this. Right now, our dedicated staff are modifying care and operations, ensuring the best and safest care for our clients. Staff is coordinating with pharmacies to be sure clients receive their medications and when necessary, nurses are being deployed to give injections. There are crisis teams on call 24/7 ready to help a client in crisis.

Our Board of Directors are applying their diverse expertise and are supporting what’s best for client care and staff by encouraging all of our efforts.

We understand that these measures will result in a significant drop in billing and revenue, but we believe it is important to keep our clients as safe as possible. We also are endeavoring to maintain a healthy and viable work force with a focus on client care – and we will continue to do that.


PS: We know so many of you, when you see a need, want to respond. What can you do? A donation, large or small would help. Thank you!

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. 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 scorecards that help us track how our staff are helping people in the most critical of areas (such as meeting with their psychiatrists).With so many successes, we still have a ways to go. And we need your help.

Please Make Your Gift Today

In 2020, we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary! This letter to you begins the launch of our year-long campaign during which we’ll be celebrating our past accomplishments, sharing our future goals, and featuring stories about and by our clients, our long-time friends, and people from the past who have made us who are we are today.

In the coming months we’d like to celebrate our 40th Anniversary by:

  • Building a library of gift cards to make emergency purchases for our clients who need help in outfitting a new apartment or getting coats and hats for the winter.
  • Creating a new Community Support team that will be able to lower existing caseloads and increase quality of care.
  • Raising $1,000 each week for the first 40 weeks of 2020—just in time for our 40th Anniversary Celebration!

But we need your help to make these things — and more! —happen.  I’m asking that you make a special year-end gift to help us reach our goal.  We can continue to fulfill our mission only through your help.

On behalf of Byron, Judith, and Wanda, and the rest of our 4,000 clients, thank you for giving them hope and inspiring them to work on their recovery.

Yours in service,

Dennis Hobb
Executive Director

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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