No Caller Turned Away: Helping the Community Get Mental Health Services

Lots of dead ends. Nowhere to turn. Loss of hope. This is how people often describe attempts to get help with mental health. Community Access Services were created to give them somewhere to turn.

“Ultimately, the mental health system tends to be very fragmented, and access is so difficult for so many,” says Melissa Klein, Program Manager. “Ten years ago, Guild recognized this need and responded.” A grant provided start-up funds and a small team began providing 20 free days of service to callers. No caller was turned away. The team received 239 calls in 2009.

As the new Community Access Services moved forward, Melissa noticed that people were still having difficulty getting connected to services. Something was missing: a diagnostic assessment. “You can’t really get access to services without one,” Melissa explains.

Her observation helped services evolve to include completion of a diagnostic assessment. Conducted face-to-face, the assessment helps Guild staff gain a full understanding of an individual’s needs. “We’re not just giving people a diagnosis and then just letting go,” Melissa describes. “We really listen to them and to their family to understand and make recommendations based on needs. We might recommend them to a program that Guild has – Targeted Case Management, Behavioral Health Home Services, or Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). If we don’t have a service that meets their needs, then we recommend them to another provider or resource that does.”

In 2017, the Community Access team:

  • Responded to 1,229 calls (a 32% increase over 2016)
  • Completed over 300 diagnostic assessments (a 98% increase over 2016)
  • Referred 97% of the individuals referred to them for assessment to one of these Guild service teams: Targeted Case Management, Behavioral Health Home, or Assertive Community Treatment

Community Access Services still operate under the same principal they did when they started: no caller is turned away. Eligibility issues are addressed by helping people figure out how to enroll for medical insurance. A private pay option is offered for those who don’t qualify or have private insurance that doesn’t cover services.

“To have a significant number of people getting that comprehensive assessment and getting connected to services is really exciting,” Melissa says of the impact of services. “I get the opportunity to see people that came through Community Access getting service from one of our teams, and I see how far they’ve come. I also think about our private pay clients, and that they might not have services at all if we didn’t provide this.”

More About Community Access Services:

Provides:  Assistance to general inquiries about Guild services and navigating the mental health system; Completion of Diagnostic Assessments for appropriate referral to Guild’s Targeted Case Management, Behavioral Health Home, or Assertive Community Treatment or to a community resource that fits individual needs; and Service directly to individuals and families (through private pay) that want services but aren’t eligible due to insurance or other requirements.

Number of teams: 1

Counties served: All 7 metro counties

Accepts referrals from: Anyone can call the Community Access team for help.




December 20, 2018

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