Recovery-oriented care system

Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) is the goal of a Recovery is Beautiful BluePrint. The blueprint was developed by the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities. The principles that drive this blueprint are: focusing on clients and families; ensuring timely access to care; promoting healthy, safe, and drug free communities; prioritizing outcome driven financing; and locally managing systems of care. It is a five-year plan designed to change the way mental health and addiction services are delivered in Ohio. Our current system focuses on delivering acute care with little or no follow-up and support services. This fosters a revolving door process where people are stabilized from acute illness and returned to the community. Without recovery supports many of these individuals relapse and start the cycle over.

In order to understand ROSC we must first define recovery. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2009, defined recovery from alcohol and drug problems as a process of change through which an individual achieves improved health, wellness, and quality of life. SAMHSA in 2012, defined recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care are networks of formal and informal services developed and mobilized to sustain long-term recovery for individuals and families impacted by severe substance abuse and/or mental illness disorders. Development of these systems is supported by research performed by the Institute of Medicine, and SAHMSA. Under the Recovery is Beautiful BluePrint, the Washington County Behavioral Health Board (WCBHB) will develop local plans and establish necessary goals to move our community toward a ROSC that meets our unique needs. This will require us to partner with local leaders, elected officials, faith-based organizations, health and human services entities, law enforcement and criminal justice organizations, and most importantly, clients and family members.

Recovery is Beautiful BluePrint establishes a framework in which the WCBHB is the ROSC hub for our local community. We will coordinate across systems to ensure that local entities are prepared to offer community-based mental health and addiction prevention and wellness services, as well as treatment and recovery supports that are person-centered and designed to meet the needs of individuals working toward recovery. A fundamental principle of ROSC is that clients are the key drivers of decisions about their service and support needs. An array of services and systems are built so that individuals can access them when and where they are needed. The continuum of services includes prevention, community education, crisis services, treatment, and recovery supports. Recovery supports include such things as housing, transportation, employment services, and peer supports.

The WCBHB has or supports programs that fit in the ROSC paradigm, they are the following: Mental Health First Aid Training; the Suicide Prevention Coalition; Crisis Intervention Team Training; Psychiatric Advance Directives; and the House of Hope. The board is currently working to establish a residential treatment program in Washington County. Due to funding cuts in recent budgets, we no longer have programs such as WRAP (training in a system of self management and planning for mental illness consumers), Bridges (an educational program for mental health consumers that helps them to better understand their illness and their treatment options, as well as how to communicate with their care providers.

These are just some of the programs needed to implement a fully developed ROSC. ROSC planning is in its infancy, we will be reaching out to the community for their assistance in this endeavor. A fully developed ROSC will be more efficient and cost effective while providing a safer, healthier, and happier Washington County.

Visit washingtoncountygov.org/wcbhb for more information about the board and its services. The board meets regularly, at the board office, on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. The office is located at 344 Muskingum Drive, Marietta 45750. The Public Information Committee meets at 11.30 a.m. on the Monday prior to the meeting. Meeting times may be changed due to holidays, all meeting times are posted on the website. From time to time, board member opening becomes available for Washington County residents with an interest in mental health or addiction. If you are interested in serving on the board in a volunteer capacity please call the board office at (740) 374-6990 or e-mail davidkbrowne@wcbhb.org.

Brett Nicholas is Washington County Behavioral Health Board member and chairman of the Public Information and Education Committee. Behavioral Health Matters appears on the Opinion page of the Marietta Times on the last Saturday of the month.