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Opening Doors to Recovery Project
A private, non-profit, public partnership.
“Psychosocial disability and functional impairments frequently accumulate throughout the course of serious and persistent mental illnesses, all too often culminating in homelessness, incarceration, and repeated hospitalization. Yet, in many healthcare settings—including the southeast region of Georgia where the proposed Opening Doors to Recovery intervention will be provided—very limited or no recovery- oriented case management services are available.” Michael Compton, George Washington University, Lead Researcher for ODR Project.
When NAMI-Georgia convened a Adult Mental Health Summit made up of groups of professionals and lay mental health advocates and consumers in the early winter of 2009, a decision was made by them to design a Model System of Care the 34 counties in Region 5 in the southeast corner of Georgia that would reduce recidivism for adults with Serious Mental Illnesses who end up more than once in a year in the state hospital, jails, prisons and/or homeless. Four Battle Groups were organized to 1) study issues related to Information Systems, 2) study Services Delivery, 3) study Housing access and availability, and 4) develop a family/peer/self-case management and case coordination tool.
This project is a validation study for Battle 4: Develop a family/peer/self-case management and case coordination tool. These case managers will be called Community Navigation Specialist (CNS). The study will provide initial effectiveness testing of a highly innovative approach to delivering tailored, recovery-oriented case management services to 100 people with serious and persistent mental illnesses who have an established history of recidivism. The study is grounded in an extensive research base that documents health care disparities affecting access and quality of care, while embracing a recovery approach to mental health services. The target population will be those with serious and persistent mental illness who have recidivated and who, as outlined in other documents, have repeated patterns of homelessness, incarceration, and/or hospitalization (“The Deep End” described by NAMI-Georgia).
The proposed intervention approach has been developed by NAMI-Georgia through extensive consultations, as outlined in Response to the Crisis: Opening Doors to Recovery: Summit Report and Directives for Southeast Georgia (September 2009). The intervention is an innovation in case management that has not been tried before and is in need of an evidence base. This study is the initial step in establishing such an evidence base. Findings from the study will provide a clear sense of the adjustments that are needed for broader implementation in other “deep end” settings, like jails and prisons.
The Project is developing and will implement an innovative curriculum to train the CNS (four teams of three people-a professional, a family member and a peer), and for the CNS to train and support The 100 to move toward Recovery. All stakeholders agree that four areas of focus were needed for The 100 to recover and become contributing members of their communities. The work groups with detailed implementation plans are:
- Adequate treatment-Chair Dr. Charles Li CEO Georgia Regional Hospital Savannah
- Safe Housing-Chair Mark Baggett, ED Homeless Authority Savannah
- Meaningful Day-Chair Yovancha Lewis-Samuels, Department of Labor
- Technology as enhancement-Chair Mimi McGahee, Director Educational Technology Valdosta State University
NAMI-Georgia has begun the ODR Project, and is hosting the Region 3 (Metro) and Region 1 Adult Mental Health Summits to move those regions toward a similar collaboration. It is hoped that concepts and lessons learned from Region 5 can catapult other Regions to begin synchronizing all systems to support those with serious and persistent mental illnesses who are recidivating in the deep end and put an end to that unacceptable, wasteful, expensive, painful outcome. This project is about collaboration— bringing stakeholders to the table to work together and support their citizens who have been failed miserably by an under funded, fragmented mental health system. ODR is about systems and communities coming together, measuring it up, and finding solutions
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