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DHHS Crisis Solutions Coalition Holds First Meeting, Marks Beginning of Long-Term Process

Person-centered crisis plan is introduced as first step

For Immediate Release
Monday, December 9, 2013

Raleigh, N.C. - Nearly 80 citizens, advocates, community leaders and mental health professionals gathered in Raleigh today for the first meeting of the Crisis Solutions Coalition, part of Governor Pat McCrory's effort to address the growing need for a more effective service system for individuals in mental illness and substance abuse crisis. The coalition discussed one of the first strategies as a part of this effort, the person-centered crisis plan, a new strategy for crisis prevention which takes effect on January 1, 2014.

"Previous attempts to change the delivery of mental health services in our state have taken a wholesale transformation approach, but our approach is more pragmatic: we'll look to see what's working well and expand it," said Dave Richard, director of the DHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. "Instead of 'reform,' this will be a practical plan that focuses on long-term solutions."

The goal of the coalition is to identify and implement evidence-based best practices for crisis care.

As part of their overview, Richard and his staff provided a look at one possible solution being evaluated as a way to emphasize prevention, recovery and habilitation strategies for individuals already in the mental health system. Beginning January 1, 2014, all behavioral health providers statewide will be required to incorporate a crisis component in the person-centered plan for individuals who meet criteria defined as being at higher risk for a crisis incident. The person-centered planning process has long been the framework for providing services, treatment, supports and interventions that meet the individual's or family's needs. All other individuals that receive enhanced services will have a one page person-centered crisis plan. The plan may be viewed at

"We believe that the more comprehensive plan will give individuals, families and care providers the tools they need for the most effective intervention at a time of crisis," Richard said. "While it is up to the individual and family to decide with whom they will share their plan, it provides the opportunity for support at the right time and the right place to avoid unnecessary and costly hospitalization or even incarceration."

The revised comprehensive plan will be assessed for its value and effectiveness based on qualitative/quantitative measures and a formal meeting of consumers and stakeholders will provide feedback on its "real-world application." Taking the feedback into consideration, necessary revisions will be made to improve upon the plan.

"This will be a collaborative process, so our coalition will be integral in helping us build a system that addresses the whole person and provides the right care at the right time," said Richard.

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