Today, Douglas County released a digital report, “Rising to the Challenge: New Directions for Behavioral Health in Douglas County,” that outlines programs and services that have been implemented during the past five years. These services include a mobile crisis team, a Treatment and Recovery campus and an array of post-crisis community support services.
Behavioral health is one of the focus areas in the 2018-2023 Community Health Plan. The plan outlines three strategies to improve behavioral health: prioritizing prevention, promoting integration across the system of care, and improving access to care. The digital report breaks down the work that is being done in these three areas. A few examples:
- Prevention. “Handle with Care,” a collaboration between law enforcement and schools, has been implemented in Baldwin City, Eudora and Lawrence. As a result, nearly 18,000 students under the age of 18 receive the extra care they need during the school day in the wake of traumatic events at home.
- Integration. Douglas County has established a Peer Fellows Program that locates highly-trained individuals, who have lived experience, in community settings that allow them to support individuals who are experiencing behavioral health challenges. Since 2019, the program has trained 22 individuals who have completed at least one year of service.
- Access. Prior to 2018, there were no available social detox facilities in Douglas County for men. In 2018, Douglas County initiated a peer-led social detox program in partnership with DCCCA, LMH Health and Heartland Community Health Center so that men could receive social detox services in conjunction with peer support. Between 2018 and 2021, 501 individuals (161 men) entered the county’s social detox program. The completion rate has ranged between 68% and 73%.
“We have been able to make great strides in our community because everyone has a shared purpose. That shared purpose is to build a system of care that serves the whole person, their whole life, so that they can realize their full potential,” Director of Behavioral Health Projects Bob Tryanski said. “We are building an integrated system of care that helps people move from crisis and illness as a norm to recovery and prevention as a practice.”
In 2019, Douglas County along with agency partners Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Treatment and Recovery Campus of Douglas County. Since then, The Cottages at Green Lake, Transitions and the Treatment & Recovery Center have opened on the campus providing urgent care, transitional services and housing.
The Cottages provides permanent supportive housing for individuals with serious, persistent mental illness. There are 10 separate cottages, and they are currently all occupied. Transitions, a congregate-style living setting, serves up to 12 clients for up to 12 months. Clients attend programs designed to enhance their recovery and transition back into the community. The Treatment and Recovery Center is open 24/7 and provides individuals with direct access to providers who can assess and treat their immediate needs.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Senior Analyst Dee Kinard said, “The goal of a well-functioning system is to support people in crisis so that they don’t have to cycle through the medical and criminal justice systems where they may never get the care they need or deserve.”
Kinard said the report summarizes “the wide range of services and prevention supports that make up the behavioral health system in Douglas County and the progress that has been made since 2018.”
To view the report, visit: http://dgcoks.org/bhreport2023.
Contact: Karrey Britt, Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org