Our Philosophy

Stepping Stones embraces the philosophy that individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses will succeed at varying degrees of independence from the mental health system and that some may require life-long supportive care to break the cycle of repeated hospitalizations and homelessness. Our mission is to help the individuals we serve face the challenges of daily living by developing competent skills, self confidence and the social roles of their choice.

The intensive services Stepping Stones provides is based on the concepts of primacy, that is, we believe that we actually have a primary responsibility in the lives of those we serve. While with us our clients are never alone in their recovery from the torment of their illness and that of the usual non accepting community they live in. We believe we, or someone, will likely have to play that role for the entirety of our clients’ lives.

At Stepping Stones, we accomplish our mission with several approaches; first we provide the management and supervision necessary to help our clients feel secure and at ease in their daily routines. We want our clients to be as active and productive as possible. Second, we teach our clients basic living skills such as personal hygiene, housekeeping, shopping, cooking and management of their money. These “survival” skills are taught within the living environment, where they will have the greatest impact. Third, we link our clients to vital services and resources in the community they will need to achieve and sustain their progress. It is our goal to provide the most complete opportunity possible for our clients to be participating, working members of the Rockford community.

Stepping Stones has a continuum of care which combines case management, counseling, psychosocial rehabilitation and housing to meet the individualized recovery needs of each person served. We recognize the importance of providing case management services at the level needed based on medical necessity, assessed need and cost effectiveness. This also ties into the continuum of housing that is provided. Residents who live in our 24 hour a day supervises group homes receive the most intensive case management and related services to help them become more stable. Individuals in supervised apartments receive services aimed at helping them learn the skills they’ll need to live even more independently. Those in supported housing, who have developed specific recovery skills and demonstrated the ability to live more independently, receive case management only in the frequency and areas where they need assistance.

Our organization operates as a community based cost effective mental healthcare provider that practices the “Rehabilitation Through Living” model of care. This means that we are personally involved and supportive as needed in the lives of those we serve to help them live as independently and fully as possible. This is accomplished through helping our clients establish and maintain the proper community relationships for their continued physical/mental health and supporting the social roles they choose to be in.

We do not accept the current premise that mental health care is a ‘crisis issue’ that is resolved after a person’s life has fallen apart. By definition and practice, this is a system of failure, after the harm and long lasting effects have already occurred, designed by politicians who believe this will save money and force the care of people with serious mental illnesses on ‘everybody else’ with the illusion of helping them.

The practice of using the business model in human services (i.e., medical, behavioral healthcare, education) misses the whole point of the human experience and tries to fit it into something that can be privatized and produce a profit. Under this kind of system, people become a commodity, not a person, and as such can de despised, denied and discriminated against and used or simply dismissed as “not profitable”. This is the mentality that supports the greed of a few at the cost of the lives of many, especially those who are at a great disadvantage already.

We believe in our mission to provide good service to people who need it and for as long as they need it even when others will not work with or have failed them.

We understand that chronic mental illnesses can and do debilitate and that they are currently incurable, therefore, illness can return no matter how much effort the clients, family and we put into their recovery. We practice many interventions, but it is “the journey” that we are prepared for.

We understand that chronic illnesses permeate the lives of people and thus rehabilitation is not just a set of per-authorized treatment interventions, it’s the full process of living a complete life. Our motto of rehabilitation through living personifies that understanding for us.

As an agency, we believe in recovery in the sense that people with chronic mental illnesses can and do regain capacities they have lost, learn new skills in many areas and can achieve a more stable and satisfying life even as they work to master the symptoms of their illnesses. And, we want to be a part of that as long and in whatever way they need us.

Stepping Stones recognizes stigma against mental illness and persons with these illnesses still exists and therefore we perform the role of educator and advocate in our community. This objective is obtained through public appearances, involvement in appropriate organizations and committees, media contacts and presentations to professional, educational and community organizations.