The START Model

The START program model was implemented in 1988 by Dr. Joan B. Beasley and her team to provide community-based crisis intervention for individuals with IDD and mental health needs. The model is evidence-informed and utilizes a national database. It is a person-centered, solutions-focused approach that employs positive psychology and other evidence-based practices.  

START is a comprehensive model of service supports that optimizes independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs. In the 2002 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on mental health disparities for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities, START was cited as a model program. In 2016, the START model was identified as best practice by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

To learn more about START, watch this START Overview presentation by Dr. Joan B. Beasley

The Center for START Services

The Center for START Services at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability/UCED is a national initiative that works to strengthen efficiencies and service outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and behavioral health needs in the community.

The Center was established in 2009 at the IOD to provide technical support, clinical expertise, and training and consultation services that support the development of:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation of Services & Systems of Care (local and state)

  • A systems linkage approach to service provision

  • Expert Assessment & Clinical Support

  • Outcomes-Based Research & Evaluation

  • Short-Term Therapeutic Resources and Opportunities

  • Cross Systems Crisis Prevention & Intervention Planning

  • Family Support, Education & Outreach

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration

By supporting the development of the cornerstones of the START model as outlined above, START programs and their participants experience an array of benefits including:

  • Reduced use of emergency services and state facility/hospital stays

  • High rates of satisfaction by families and care recipients

  • Cost-effective service delivery

  • Increased community involvement and crisis expertise in communities

  • Strengthened linkages that enrich systems, increase resources, and fill in service gaps

Family Testimonial

"Thanks again for advocating on behalf of Mary. It is difficult for us to convey how deeply humbled and grateful we are by your advocacy and action on behalf of Mary and others who have no voice in our society.  The willingness to allocate significant and scarce resources is appreciated by this family on behalf of our daughter whose diagnosis creates so many difficulties in her life."

- Parents of individual receiving START Services in Iowa

Featured Training

The Science of Hope in a Time of Crisis with Dr. Dan Tomasulo

In this special webinar co-sponsored by the Center for START Services and AUCD's MH/IDD Special Interest Group (SIG), Dr. Dan Tomasulo highlights practical ways to deal with worries and uncertainty.

Watch the Recorded Webinar