By Bob Coles, Meridian Health Services
The dual-diagnosis of intellectual disability and mental illness is a complex condition that challenges both mental health professionals and DD providers. These challenges make access to services for individuals with dual diagnoses very difficult. Acute psychiatric units often do not admit these individuals, feeling that the needs involved are too complex for the unit's resources. Additionally, these individuals may be restricted from participation in employment activities or completion of educational goals due to their unique challenges. With an eye on success, Meridian Health Services has developed innovative solutions to improve access to service for these individuals.
One such solution is Meridian's open access method which allows any person to get same day access to service. A person may walk in or make an appointment to be seen by a therapist who then completes an intake/admission process. Follow-up appointments include therapy, home based services, school based services and psychiatric referrals, which are often scheduled within a week.
Through the Meridian Connxxions program, clients are also provided access to 24/7 crisis services, with staff on call to respond as needed. This immediate response to crises has reduced psychiatric hospitalizations, ER time, police runs, incarcerations and future crisis. Quality crisis services also help clients continue to participate in employment activities and school programs by improving the client's overall ability to function.
Another critical access point is medical care. Meridian is proud to provide easy access to this important service by including medical doctors as part of the treatment team. Meridian staff go the extra mile to assist clients with transportation to doctor appointments and follow-up appointments.
Through innovative practices and partnership, Meridian Health Services strives to meet the needs of dual-diagnosis clients throughout central Indiana. We look forward to sharing our success with you during the Dual-Diagnosis Track at the INARF Annual Conference.