Daniel Fisher is a member of the Mental Health Self-direction Advisory Board. The project, led By Dr. Bevin Croft, of HSRI, just published its first findings: “Compared with nonparticipants, self-directing participants were more likely to improve, or maintain at high levels, engagement in paid work and independent housing.”
Self-direction, or self-directed care, is a newer service delivery model for people with serious mental health conditions who use publicly funded services. In self-direction, people control a portion of funds normally spent on their treatment to purchase a range of goods and services to meet recovery goals within the context of their unique life circumstances. Purchases might include transportation, supports for housing, employment, or education, or even mental health treatment from a provider of the person’s choosing.
New research from the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) suggests that mental health self-direction can help support people to live and work in their communities. To explore the effects of self-direction on important functional outcomes like employment and housing, HSRI researchers and colleagues looked at approximately four years’ worth of data from the nation’s largest and longest-standing self-direction effort, FloridaSDC. They found that compared with nonparticipants, self-directing participants were more likely to improve, or maintain at high levels, engagement in paid work and independent housing.
“Self-direction is emerging as a promising model of mental health service delivery, and it aligns with the field’s growing focus on using individualized, person-centered care to effect recovery,” says Bevin Croft, Research Associate at HSRI and the study’s Principal Investigator. This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows self-direction can help people achieve better outcomes.
The study, published in the journal Psychiatric Services, is part of a Demonstration and Evaluation of Self-Direction in Mental Health study that explores mental health self-direction in six states, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New York State Health Foundation with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) (www.hsri.org) is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization that works with government agencies and others to improve health and human services and systems, enhance the quality of data to guide policy, and engage stakeholders to effect meaningful systems change.