BRIDGES, Inc. was founded and established by Dr. Audrey (Al) and C. Allen (Chuck) Braswell in 1976 as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization initially to provide child care for children of their nursing home employees. Through their vision and identified community needs, BRIDGES has evolved into a multi-service organization with a dedicated professional staff which now provides a variety of mental health and social services for persons with psychiatric disabilities and co-occurring disorders. The Braswell’s, with their foresight, founded an organization based on the premise that everything that touches a client while in treatment affects their growth, fosters community integration, and overall improves the lives of people living with mental illness.
For the first 20 years, the organization supported low-income families with affordable childcare in order to help families work and achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. Further, BRIDGES operated a child care food program serving hundreds of children throughout more than 600 care provider homes in 4 Southern California counties.
Seven houses provided supervised independent living for graduates of BRIDGES Rehabilitation Programs. Five homes served persons with co-occurring disorders. Additionally, BRIDGES provided vocational training, paid employment opportunities with support, case management and linkage, family involved care, counseling services, and mental health treatment for persons with severe mental illness.
The Braswell’s extensive experience with traditional psychiatric and long-term treatment facilities aspired them to develop aftercare residential treatment that would allow patients to transition into communal houses in the neighborhood, teaching them skills of daily living and providing meaningful work experiences, reducing recidivism, and increasing their ability to maintain independence.
Today BRIDGES is proud to offer community-based specialized mental health and residential treatment utilizing an integrated, multidisciplinary approach, addressing a full range of client’s needs. Components of BRIDGES’ long- term social rehabilitation facilities include mental health counseling and therapy, psychiatric and medication services, life skills education and development, as well as vocational and employment opportunities. Outpatient services are often centered in the community or in the office, and are individualized to meet the needs of each individual or family.