The majority of individuals with serious mental illness experience the first signs of illness during adolescence or early adulthood, and long delays often occur between symptom onset and consistent, effective treatment. In order to address these issues, in 2014 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration began requiring the states to “set aside” funding from their Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) to support the development of early psychosis treatment programs across the United States. In Virginia, this set-aside totals nearly $1.3 million per year. In addition, the Commonwealth’s biennium budget for State Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 includes $8 million to support behavioral health services for seriously affected transition-age youth.
Using this combination of state and federal funds, in July 2014, DBHDS released a Request for Proposals to our community services board system to solicit applications for funding to develop and implement evidence-supported early intervention and treatment models designed to address the behavioral health needs of young adults, including those experiencing First-Episode Psychosis (FEP). Early intervention programs are designed to bridge existing services for individuals experiencing FEP and eliminate gaps between child/adolescent and adult behavioral health programs. Such services are an emerging practice in behavioral healthcare, and several models have been shown to be promising practices in recent research. One such model which is receiving support at the federal level from both SAMHSA and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC). Initial results from the NIMH-funded CSC research initiative Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) suggest that mental health providers across multiple disciplines can learn the principles of CSC for FEP, and apply these skills to engage and treat young adults in the early stages of psychotic illness. CSC is a team-based, collaborative, recovery-oriented approach involving the young person, treatment team members, and when appropriate, family members as active participants. CSC components emphasize outreach to identify and engage young people into youth-specific treatment, including low-dosage medications, cognitive and behavioral skills training, supported employment and supported education, case management, and family psychoeducation. CSC also emphasizes shared decision-making as a means to address the unique needs, preferences, and recovery goals of young people with FEP.
From the July 2014 solicitation, DBHDS identified eight community services boards (CSBs) who will be developing Coordinated Specialty Care programs to bring this new evidence-based practice to Virginia. Services are being provided by the following CSBs; contact information for the CSC program is listed below.
Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services: The TRAILS Program serves residents of the City of Alexandria. Contact Nichole Rohrer at 703-746-5700.
Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and collaborating partner PRS, Inc.: These agencies jointly operate the program, which is called Turning Point. Turning Point serves residents of Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. Contact Marla Zometsky at 703-383-8535, or visit the Turning Point web site.
Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services: The In S.T.R.I.D.E. Program (Step Toward, Recovery, Insight, Development, & Empowerment) serves residents of the counties of Charles City, Henrico and New Kent. Contact Tisha Parson at (804) 727-8924.
Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services: The Linking Individuals and Navigating Care (LINC) Program serves Loudoun County residents. Contact Lisa Beran at 703-777-0417.
Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services: The Young Adult Coordinated Care (YACC) Program serves residents of the Counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock. Contact YACC at 540-825-3100. Also view a program brochure.
Western Tidewater Community Services Board: Serves residents of the Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and the Cities of Franklin and Suffolk. The Life Management Program (LMP) provides service and support for young people ages 16-25 experiencing a first episode of psychosis (FEP). The LMP Team meets with each individual and family if applicable to establish their needs, wishes and aspirations. If the client has communication difficulties, we strive to find the most effective form of communication for them. Ultimately, the LMP team strives to convey hope for recovery using a person centered approach and peer support. Individuals interested in making referrals to The Life Management Program can contact Brandon Rodgers, Administrator of Program and Service Development at (757) 419-9670. “The Purpose of Life is a Life with Purpose.”
The DBHDS Office of Child and Family Services and Office of Mental Health are collaborating to provide oversight to this initiative. For more information, contact Jeff VanArnam in the Office of Mental Health at (804) 786-7357 or Malcolm King in the Office of Child and Family Services at 804-371-4604.