FACT team in Maricopa County

September 14th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

We are pleased to share with you that Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care has recently implemented a new Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) team under the direction of Community Bridges.  The new FACT team will address the unique needs of people who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and who have had involvement with the criminal justice system.

FACT is designed to reduce recidivism and assist our highest-need members with a full array of community-based supports and services delivered in a wrap-around model so they can achieve their recovery goals and maintain in the community.

The Community Bridges team is one of four Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams that Mercy Maricopa intends to add to the system in FY15 and it will be the RBHA’s second FACT team. The new 13-member team will complement the work of the Regional Behavioral Health Authority’s existing FACT team, operated by People of Color Network, by using the evidence based practice to:

Identify and engage members with complex, high needs;

Remove barriers to services and supports;

Address the whole person and provide a full range of community-based services and supports wherever and whenever they are needed;

Reduce hospitalizations and contact with the criminal-justice system, improve health outcomes and help establish and strengthen natural community supports.

FACT team members have experience in psychiatry, nursing, social work, rehabilitation services, substance-abuse interventions, employment support, independent-living skills and housing. A key member of the team is a peer who has lived experience with behavioral health challenges and prior interaction with the criminal justice system.

The team will assist members with following treatment plans, activities of daily living, employment-related services, finding and maintaining affordable housing, budgeting, obtaining benefits and engaging in community activities, delivering services in accordance with SAMHSA  evidence-based practices.

Discussions with system partners, providers and the community, supported by evidence in the ADHS Service Capacity Assessment Priority Service Areas Report, clearly demonstrated the need for an additional FACT team. Studies have shown that members served on FACT teams experience significant reductions in arrests, jail days, hospital days and hospitalizations.

Community Bridges has a long history of significant experience with this population, including work with the chronically homeless in Project H3 and Project H3 Vets, and at its crisis stabilization and detox facilities. Community Bridges already partners with the criminal-justice system and law-enforcement, and is well prepared to identify members and accept referrals from these systems, as well as from hospitals, clinics and the crisis system.

“It’s a population that Community Bridges is passionate about. It’s a population that we’ve had good success with,” said Chief Operations Officer John Hogeboom. “We’ve had relationships with these folks, so when the opportunity presented itself we jumped at it.”

Currently, 15 ACT teams across Maricopa County are available to serve 1,500 members. In FY14, these teams served approximately 1,360 members, which a vacancy rate of 8 percent. Like the other teams, the new Community Bridges FACT team will serve 100 members, bringing the total program capacity to 1,600 members. By the end of FY15, 19 teams will be in place with the capacity to serve 1,900 members. Four additional teams are planned for FY16.

As Mercy Maricopa expands the number of ACT teams, we will work with providers and stakeholders to determine the need for additional specialty teams, targeted provider education and technical assistance. We continue to provide ongoing technical support to ACT team providers to improve member engagement strategies and ensure fidelity to SAMHSA evidence based practice.

“Expanding the capacity of this critical program holds tremendous promise to make a real difference in the lives of the members we serve and their families, as well as significantly impact the health-care, crisis and criminal justice systems, and the overall community,” said Tad Gary, chief clinical officer for Mercy Maricopa. “Through this collaborative effort, we will help more people break the cycle of incarceration, homelessness and hospitalization so they can achieve their life goals.”


For additional information about the new FACT team, the ACT model or readiness reviews, please contact Alisa Randall at randalla2@mercymaricopa.org or Crystal Domblisky-Klein at domblisky-kleinc@mercymaricopa.org.


Suicide prevention week

September 12th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

This week is National Suicide Prevention week. Officials at the Arizona Department of Health Services are working with community leaders and stakeholders to better understand what resources are needed to prevent future suicide in our state. In 2012, some 1100 Arizonans took their own lives.

Regional meetings in Flagstaff, Tucson and Phoenix have taken place in the last two weeks to meet with community stakeholders about localized projects and successes. Many tribal leaders have participated in these conversations too. Together, these community leaders and ADHS employees will work to edit the state’s strategic plan for suicide prevention. Ideally, this plan will include detailed information on the successes and areas of improvement needed across the state’s 15 counties and 23 tribes.

For more information about the plan or suicide prevention, contact: Kelli Donley kelli.donley@azdhs.gov

Recovery month: learn the facts

September 11th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

By learning about behavioral health and spreading the word that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover, you can help persons with substance use and mental health challenges get the essential treatment and recovery support services they need.  Try it during National Recovery month!


FACT: Mental illness doesn’t discriminate — it can affect anyone at anytime, regardless of age, ethnic background, gender or income.

Learn more:


Suicide prevention day

September 10th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

This week is National Suicide Prevention week. In 2012, some 1100 Arizonans took their own lives. Officials at the Arizona Department of Health Services are collaborating with the community to honor this week, including National Suicide Prevention day, September 10th.

A suicide survivor will be speaking at ADHS on September 10th to staff. She will share her story of losing a child to suicide, including the warning signs and community resources available for prevention. Additionally, ADHS employees are encouraged to wear purple this week, the national color for suicide prevention.

For more information, contact: Kelli Donley kelli.donley@azdhs.gov

25th anniversary for national recovery month!

September 5th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

September is the 25th year for National Recovery Month – a special time to celebrate recovery success. It’s also a time to teach people more about recovery from mental and substance abuse disorders and how to seek help.

Mental and substance abuse disorders can be treated and even prevented.
Facts about prevention, treatment and recovery:

• A person usually shows signs of a mental and/or substance use disorder two to four years before the problem starts. This offers a chance to help early
• Early treatment for mental illnesses can help avoid future problems.
• Research shows that treatment can help people recover from drug addiction.

Mental and substance use disorders affect millions of Americans. They directly touch the lives of individuals, family members, neighbors, and colleagues.

Nearly 1 out of every 5 adults in the United States, about 43.7 million people, has a mental illness. More than 22 million people have an issue with substance dependence or abuse. Because of how many people these conditions affect, it’s important to make prevention, treatment, and recovery support available and accessible for anyone who needs them.

There are many ways for people to get help and recover from a mental or substance use disorder. If you, a family member, or friend needs help, there is help available. You are not alone.

Join the voices for recovery this 25th national recovery month!

September 4th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

National Recovery Month

Want to help prevent suicide in Maricopa County?

September 2nd, 2014 by Claudia Sloan 1 comment »

Please help us prevent suicide in your community.  Identifying priorities is among the first steps for tackling such a complex and long-standing issue.  To that end, we are conducting a regional needs assessment to look at how suicide impacts our communities.  This needs assessment comes in the form of a survey and will help inform our Prevention Department about areas that should be considered for priority funding based on existing community needs.

Please participate by completing THIS SURVEY today!   This survey will close on September 8, 2014.

We want to hear from you - share what you know and see happening with suicide in your community.  Your honest feedback is very important to us and your community.   Also, please know that this survey is confidential; we are not asking you for your name or anything that can be linked to you individually. All of the survey information gathered will be combined and reported by Pima Prevention Partnership.

VERY IMPORTANT:  this survey is intended only for adults who live in or work in Maricopa County. Feel free to share with anyone who meets this criteria.

As a thank you for your time in completing the survey, you may choose to provide your email address, should you wish to be entered into a gift card drawing.

This needs assessment is taking place through a partnership with our Regional Behavioral Health Authority for Maricopa County, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (also known as Mercy Maricopa) and the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition, Inc.

More MHFA instructors join the Arizona effort

August 21st, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

We launched Mental Health First Aid ARIZONA in 2011 and since then have trained more than 7,000 people throughout our State!  MHFA is a public education effort to teach the public to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  Last week we proudly were able to add 30 new MHFA instructors for the Adult curriculum!  Congratulations to all the instructors and welcome to the ARIZONA MHFA team!

Interested in attending a MHFA class near you?  www.mentalhealthfirstaidaz.com

New tool for medical providers

August 19th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

The CDC recently released a tool to help more medical providers assess their patients for risky drinking behaviors that may be affecting their health.  This tool, in particular, can be used for implementing SBIRT at Primary Care Provider (PCP) locations.  It involves a validated set of screening questions to identify patient’s drinking patterns.  It also involves having a short conversation with patients who are drinking too much, or who are at severe risk, where a referral to special treatment may be beneficial.

View the tool.

Myths about mental illness

August 15th, 2014 by Claudia Sloan No comments »

There are many myths about mental illness.  Sadly, these myths (and the stigma resulting from these myths) are often the primary reason why a person doesn’t seek help.  A common myth is that mental illnesses are a rare thing.  The fact is that a mental illness is a disorder of the brain and 1 in 5 adults every year get diagnosed with one of these illnesses.  You are more likely to meet someone who has a mental health challenge than someone who has heart disease!

Another common myth is that all persons with mental illness are violent.  There’s research out there showing that the vast majority of people living with mental health conditions are no more violent than anyone else. People with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of crime.

Like most diseases of the body, mental illness has many causes – genetics, biological, environmental, social, cultural, etc. And also, like most diseases of the body, some mental illnesses can be prevented and respond positively to early intervention and treatment.

The most important fact is that mental illnesses can be treated!  Proper interventions and treatment help persons affected by them lead full and productive lives.

Want to learn more facts about mental illness?  Click here.

To learn more about what YOU can do to help someone experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, attend one of our Mental Health First Aid courses throughout the State!

stigma stops people from getting the help they need