Martha Lengthy, who formed The Village psychological well being and rehabilitation middle in downtown Lengthy Seaside from its starting in 1990, has died. She was 82.
Lengthy died at her residence in Virginia late final month. No reason behind demise was launched.
All through her lengthy profession, she labored to assist these with psychological sicknesses have productive social lives — the hallmark of The Village, operated by Psychological Well being America of Los Angeles.
Lengthy was born on Aug. 12, 1938, and raised in Texas and Michigan earlier than going to Virginia to start out her skilled profession, an obituary within the Washington Publish stated. She was married for 20 years to Robert Charles Lengthy earlier than he died in 1980. The couple raised two kids, Jason Parnell Lengthy and Julia Keating Lengthy Boland.
After school, Lengthy labored her method as much as grow to be affiliate director of the Social Heart, a psycho-social rehabilitation group in Virginia. Lengthy was appointed director of volunteerism for the state of Virginia and have become a licensed marriage ceremony officiant there as effectively.
That sturdy repute made its approach to the West Coast, the place Richard Van Horn, president and CEO of MHA Los Angeles on the time, heard of her. He employed her as director of the nascent psychological well being facility referred to as The Village.
“He remembered her in 1989 when the thought for a revolutionary psychological well being strategy referred to as The Village was first conceptualized by Psychological Well being America,” stated Paul Barry, who labored with Lengthy as affiliate director and later grew to become director himself. “Dave Pilon, the director of Group Integration at MHA on the time, wrote the proposal to fund this revolution and Richard employed Martha to show it into actuality.”
Lengthy and MHA took a proactive strategy to psychological sickness, taking a “sure, you possibly can” perspective with members there. The Village didn’t, and nonetheless doesn’t, present housing, however provided virtually the whole lot else.
“Martha Lengthy’s major mantra, repeated to all workers when requested methods to obtain some lofty aim, was to do ‘no matter it takes,’” Barry stated. “She was well-known for these phrases. This isn’t what conventional human service staff are advised. Sadly, the sphere is usually so danger averse that the reply to such questions are normally, ‘Do what’s protected’, or ‘do what has been accomplished for years.’”
The Village was headquartered within the basement of a former church, 456 Elm St., in downtown. It moved to 1955 Lengthy Seaside Blvd. final yr.
Many of the counseling and help work, nevertheless, takes place the place the shoppers dwell and work. Small groups of shoppers work with a single staffer or a workforce of them on the whole lot from counseling to job coaching.
One of many job coaching efforts became The Village Cookie Shoppe, a bakery and kitchen that has grow to be regionally well-known for its cookies. It additionally has been the place to begin for a number of tales of restoration.
“Underneath Martha’s management, the Village initiated a restoration strategy, which was decided to assist people with severe psychological sickness discover or create a life not outlined by the sickness,” Barry stated. “The outcomes have been astonishing and measured. There have been large reductions in hospitalizations, jail time and homelessness whereas the will increase in employment and college attendance have been off the dimensions.”
Lengthy stepped again in 2010, however stayed linked to The Village, working part-time till 2015 on particular tasks earlier than transferring again to Virginia to be near her kids and grandchildren.
A memorial will happen in Michigan at a later date, based on the Washington Publish obituary.