In her role as intake and community outreach coordinator for LifeSkills, Cameron Scharlow grew accustomed to receiving phone calls from people who were desperate to acquire services for their loved ones and overwhelmed and unsure about where to find the right contact names and numbers.

“I’m excited to announce that we’ve recently begun providing an access and referral service that allows me to help connect people to any community services they may be in need of and are eligible for, regardless of the agency providing the support,” Scharlow said. “I know that providers are extremely busy, so being able to refer callers to a specific person to ask for, and telling them what information they should be prepared to provide helps to ensure they are getting all the help they need and deserve.”

Since it seems many people do not know where to begin in their quest for assistance, calling Scharlow is a great place to start. Scharlow’s direct phone number is 270-901-5000, ext. 1326.

“I can usually get people connected,” Scharlow said. “People can count on LifeSkills to provide help for whatever they may need, even if we don’t offer the actual service.”

Many of Scharlow’s calls involve people seeking support for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“I assist individuals by getting their names added to wait lists for the Michelle P. Waiver and Supports for Community Living waiver programs,” Scharlow said. “I can also help people ... obtain services through state general funds, which can provide case management and at least one other service, including employment services, behavior support services, respite and personal assistance services. These all serve to help build independence and community inclusion.”

Scharlow works closely with a variety of community entities. Numerous referrals are made to the Barren River Area Development District office to connect people to the home and community-based waiver program, which is for individuals who are aged, blind or disabled.

Mental health-related callers are referred to the LifeSkills point of entry direct line at 270-901-5000, ext. 2999.

“I recommend that people call the point of entry number if they are in need of mental health or behavioral services for all ages that would include therapy, case management, peer support services or medication management,” Scharlow said.

“Another valuable resource many are not aware of is LifeSkills benefits specialist, Megan Howell, who specifically helps people apply for Medicaid,” Scharlow said. “In the past, that assistance was limited to established LifeSkills clients, but is now available to anyone in our region in need of assistance with the Medicaid application process. Megan Howell can be reached at 270-901-5000, ext. 1438.”

When asked to describe a key message she would like to convey to community members, Scharlow said: “If you suspect someone has an intellectual or developmental disability, or any disability at all, give us a call. If we can’t help you, we will find out who can, and link you to the supports and services that best fit your needs.”

– Maureen Mahaney coordinates public information for LifeSkills, a nonprofit, behavioral health care corporation that serves southcentral Kentucky. Her column runs monthly.

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