START was cited as a model program in the 2002 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on mental health disparities for persons with intellectual / developmental disabilities.
Jimmy*, who was in his early 20s when he was referred to START in early 2000, has moderate cognitive impairments and autism. He had lived with his family all of his life and they wanted to continue to have him with them. They tried to access family support for many years, but Jimmy was not able to use traditional out-of-home respite services available to other recipients of state services because of ongoing severe self-injury and major property destruction.
Prior to Jimmy’s referral to START, his family was in constant crisis. His behavior problems were severe and out of control. He was hospitalized in psychiatric facilities on numerous occasions, and after each admission seemed worse. He was referred to the START team and upon arrival the family expressed doubts that they could continue to manage the situation.
Jimmy and his family received services from START, and since working with the START team he has been diagnosed and successfully treated for obsessive-compulsive and bipolar disorders, and his behavior has improved dramatically. He continues to receive support staffing through a provider agency in the family home, and members of the START team provide ongoing training and support to his direct service staff. A START clinician attends Jimmy’s psychiatric appointments to assist in communicating with his psychiatrist, and also talks with his day program provider to ensure that everyone on his team is in communication with regard to Jimmy and his mental health care needs.
While Jimmy continues to have ongoing challenges, he and his family are no longer in constant distress. The system is linked, communication is active, and everyone continues to benefit from this approach – especially Jimmy.
START was cited as a model program
START has offered me the chance to help individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental health diagnosis. The dynamic training and creative insight of the START model has helped us effectively support people with dual diagnosis and their families. I’ve found that we will need to continue to learn and grow as new and exciting discoveries are happening all the time in this evolving area of expertise.
Expert Education & Training
To be educated and supported by some of the most highly regarded doctor’s and clinicians in the world in the dual diagnosis arena is priceless. My hope is that I can continue to learn from my educators and share my developing knowledge with as many people as possible so we can impact as many communities as possible.
Improved Family Outcomes
NC Start has been a life saver in many ways for our family.
Keeping Families Together
I thank the staff for their professionalism and kindness to our family, and I hope for everyone's continued support of this program that works to comfort the hurting and keeping families together!
Training Can Make a Difference
Thank you! I have learned a lot and am honored to be part of a program that works better than anything I've seen in my 27 years in this field!
Making a Difference
Thank you so much for all of your help and guidance over the last few days. Please also thank [the START Program Director] for her help. I am very impressed...with all of the work that you do... Be assured that your work is relevant and noticed for the high caliber program that it is... Keep up your good work - it does make a difference!