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A literature review of the issues of involuntary commitment, mental health recovery, and peer support, including the established values and ethics of these initiatives; a historical perspective of past and current recovery efforts in Vermont; and related mental health programs.
Development of a proposal for the State of Vermont to fund a study Moving Ahead Project to determine those mental health recovery and peer support initiatives that might be helpful to people who have repeated involuntary mental health commitments.
Explanation of the implementation of the study, including descriptions of the interview process, focus groups, and working with advisory boards.
A description of the data analysis process, an overview of the findings, and the process of using the data as the basis for developing the Community Links program. The design, implementation, and evaluation of the Community Links program. Pathways to Reconnection and Recovery is a program designed to facilitate the recovery, independence, interdependence, and community integration of people who have had repeated court-ordered involuntary inpatient and outpatient mental health commitments.
Typically people who have these court orders have a long history, often since childhood or adolescence, of dealing with a psychiatric illness that may involve distressing symptoms like hearing voices, anxiety, deep depression, bizarre behavior, repeated and long term institutionalization, on-going experiences of trauma and poverty, and ostracism from the community.
In the past, when these people received court orders, the orders dictated that they be institutionalized for long periods of time, often the rest of their lives, in facilities where they received minimal treatment and support.
Current court orders can still force institutionalization, or they can define conditions that would allow a person with an involuntary commitment order to continue to live in the community.
Further specific information on involuntary commitment statutes is included in Chapter II of this document.
According to Vermont State Department of Mental Health officials, there are about people in Vermont who have these orders at any given time, of them on outpatient commitment orders meaning they can live in the community if they adhere to specific provisions or restrictions and 50 who are patients at the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury, Vermont.
The Vermont State Department of Mental Health is seeking to reduce the number of people who have involuntary commitment orders.
They funded principal investigator Mary Ellen Copeland, the author of this document, and coresearcher Shery Mead to conduct a study to: Find out what kinds of mental health recovery-oriented and peer-support initiatives might be most helpful to people who have outpatient and inpatient involuntary commitment orders, 2.
Design and implement a pilot program based on the findings of the study, and 3.
Develop a manual that would allow for state and national program replication. The only treatment options that might help to relieve symptoms were medications and electroshock therapy, along with maintenance and support services.
Vermont wanted to develop a program to use this new focus to facilitate the recovery of those people who are often most difficult to reach—people who have orders of involuntary inpatient or outpatient commitment.
Community Links Based on these findings, the coresearchers developed and implemented a three-day training called the Community Links training; the two-month pilot project, Community Links; and the Community Links: Ten people from the community were trained in various aspects of developing mutually supportive relationships, assisting others in making connections, and personal resource development.
Then, in a series of mutually designed meetings and activities over a two-month period, the Community Link and the person who had asked to be in the program worked together to learn recovery skills and strategies, explore community resources, and connect with others.
At the end of the pilot program, the researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the program based on feedback from both the people who took the Community Links training and the participants and revised the training manual based on the findings of this evaluation.
Pathways to Reconnection and Recovery Program Implementation Manual based on the findings of the study and the evaluation of the pilot program. This manual describes how to implement every aspect of the Community Links program.
As a result of this program it is expected that more people will have their orders rescinded, be able to manage their lives without an order, have more friends and connections in the community, and be able to work toward their own goals and dreams.
While working closely with Shery Mead on this project, the writer took full responsibility for development of the Community Links:Abortion is the ending of pregnancy due to removing an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus.
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