As we celebrate the first anniversary of our Connect4MentalHealth (C4MH) alliance, we are energized in our commitment to work through this effort to help make mental health care a priority as today we announced the recipients of this year’s awards. By profiling and highlighting promising practices for those who live with mental illness, we are poised in our second year to expand and build on our early success as we continue efforts to elevate promising community practices that ensure the best possible care is available for individuals affected by mental illness.
Through the C4MH partnership, we were introduced this year to four outstanding programs, services and organizations that are going above and beyond to help individuals in their communities. Along with the other members of the alliance, The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council), Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Lundbeck, we identified four pillars that we believe would provide the most comprehensive and innovative care to those in need:
Expanding on the success of our initial effort, this fall we introduced the Community Innovation Awards process to honor four programs that embody those pillars of success. We focused our lens to recognizing programs that presented promise and ambition to advance us past our current understanding of mental health treatment and recovery.
More than one hundred applications were reviewed for the four awards, and today, the winners in each category were announced. As part of this recognition, they will receive a $10,000 award to continue their work and improve their services and will each be partnered with a mentor organization recognized by the C4MH initiative to support their work.
We join our C4MH partners in recognizing the winners of our Community Innovation Awards for their efforts and for their commitment. These four initiatives and organizations stand above as examples of innovation and integration as they strive to do whatever it takes to ensure successful lives for those with mental illness.
Early intervention: NAMI Collier County
NAMI of Collier County (Naples, Fla.) provides a comprehensive array of services to support individuals living with mental illness. The organization’s Health Under Guided Systems (HUGS) program, part of a broader mental health initiative known as “Beautiful Minds,” provides universal screenings to support the early identification of behavioral health problems in at-risk children up to age 18. The HUGS program has served more than 3,000 low-income, at-risk youth since 2010.
Creative Use of Technology: Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line (CTL) (New York) is the first free, nationwide, 24/7 text hotline for teens experiencing any type of crisis, including mental health-related issues like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. In partnership with select crisis centers across the country, CTL hosts a network of 230 trained counselors (as of November 2014), who provide individualized support to teens using CTL’s software. CTL has exchanged more than 3.9 million messages with individuals in need since launching as a pilot program in August 2013.
Continuity of Care: Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (CDMHC)
Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (CDMHC) (Charleston and Summerville, S.C.) provides emergency services, case management, and evidence- based outpatient counseling and psychiatric treatment for children, adolescents, adults and families. CDMHC’s Assessment/Mobile Crisis Program (A/MC) offers the only 24/7 psychiatric emergency response and intake team in South Carolina, responding to critical mental health issues anywhere in the area that would otherwise go un-served. Between July 2013 and June 2014, the A/MC team helped to prevent 2,080 emergency department admissions, successfully diverting many of those patients to outpatient services.
Service Integration: Robert Young Center
The Robert Young Center (RYC) (Moline, Ill.) is a comprehensive community mental health center and a fully integrated corporation within UnityPoint Health – Trinity. The RYC has partnered with the local Federally Qualified Community Health Care (CHC) Center in Iowa and Illinois to provide bidirectional integration of primary and behavioral healthcare for individuals with serious mental illness. Through this model, the RYC has helped integrate health services for individuals with serious mental illness, and has saved the state of Illinois more than $8.2 million in Medicaid costs since 2009.
NAMI is thankful to the many organizations who applied for these awards. The work being done in communities across the country is inspirational It is through these opportunities that we can continue to work together, to learn from each other and to strive every day to provide the best possible care for all individuals affected by mental illness.
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