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Settlement Agreement with DOJ Reaches 18 Months

There’s an interesting report out on the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) website. The document addresses progress made under a settlement agreement between Delaware and the Department of Justice that is meant to fix problems with our mental health delivery system.

The DSAMH is responsible for administering mental health services, including addiction treatment services in our state. They report “significant progress” toward reaching the joint goals in the settlement agreement. The five-year agreement, which seeks to reform mental healthcare in Delaware, was signed on July 6th, 2011 and first implemented in January of 2012. At eighteen months out, the DSAMH says challenges remain, but cites progress toward the goal of helping our mentally ill citizens live more ordinary lives.

At issue for the DOJ was compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, more than a reinventing of mental health services in Delaware. However, the opportunity allows us to reshape services to help the mentally ill gain useful employment and “thrive as members of our communities.”

The report says that an estimated 7,000 citizens of Delaware fall under the agreement and form the “target population.” Some highlights include:
• Creating and enhancing community-based mental health programs
• Transform the Delaware Psychiatric Center into an acute mental health hospital for stabilization
• Expanding the crisis hotline to an around-the-clock operation
• Adding mobile health teams with expertise in psychiatric conditions with a response time of less than an hour – statewide.
• Opened a new crisis walk-in center in Ellendale
• Added crisis stabilization beds throughout the state.

DSAMH also added supportive services for safe, independent living, meeting the goal of 300 additional individuals helped per year. This is still a far cry from the larger, 7,000 person number estimated, but not all require advanced services. The report can be read here. It outlines the details of what’s been accomplished so far and what benchmarks remain.


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