Programs Expansion
 


ACIDD Maryland currently provides a cluster of programs and services to individuals with Intellectual Disability and co-occurring Mental Illness and to people with severe and persistent mental illness. Our Disability programs are mainly in the Southern Region of Maryland and our mental health programs are mainly in Central and Southern regions of Maryland. We are expanding our services to other counties of Maryland in 2017.

We operate an integrated behavioral health care approach to our participants. Our approach is a systematic, person-centered integrated health care approach that is unique to the population. Our behavioral health care addresses mental health, substance use conditions, health behaviors due to chronic mental illness, life stressors and crises, stress related physical symptoms, and ineffective pattern of health utilization. For good health care, ACIDD Maryland focusses on behavioral health and mental health. Some of the preventive strategies are Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (PRP), Mental Health Vocational Program (MHVP), holistic psychiatry, psychotherapy and non-physician primary care service and primary nursing care.

Besides PRP and MHVP services that we have been offering to people with severe mental illness since 2013, we also began serving individuals who have the dual diagnosis of Intellectual Disability and co-occurring Mental Illness since 2015. We offer them residential services, and integrated day services. Our residential services include Personal Supports (PS), Family and Individual Support Services (FISS) besides 4 persons Group Homes and 2 to 3 persons Alternative Living Units (ALU). Our Day services currently include Vocational Day, Day Habilitation, Supported Employment and non-site based services to people receiving day habilitation services such as Community Learning Services (CLS) and Employment Discovery & Customization (ED&C). Our individuals receive PRP, Psychotherapy, holistic psychiatry, and nursing services. In 2016, ACIDD for Counseling began collaborating with different psychotherapy providers to support our integrated care approach to our individuals. We continue to adopt a holistic approach to the treatment of individuals we serve. We have experienced growth, change and hope for the people that we currently support.

No one wants to go through a mental crisis, but if you or your loved one is at risk, we got to prepare a network of supports, developing an action plan, and learn about services available in your area. With that in mind, ACIDD has expanded its services to PG County and established the on site services facility at 300 Thomas Drive in Laurel. At 300 Thomas drive, we are set up to offer PRP, MHVP, psychotherapy, diagnostic assessment and medication monitoring, non-physician primary care, primary nursing care including skilled nursing and training, and various training programs.

For most mental health professionals, the term “dual diagnosis” is used to describe people who have a mental illness and a substance use disorder. However, there is another seldom-recognized population, also described as dually diagnosed, and now known as “the other dually diagnosed”. They pose significant challenges to professionals, caregivers, and systems. These individuals have co-occurring intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) and mental illness. Surprisingly, few professionals are trained in this specialty or are aware of how frequently the two conditions coexist.

The statistics are that people with IDD are at a significantly higher risk of mental illness. The prevalence is conservatively estimated at 33% to 35%, with some sources reporting much higher rates. This population’s susceptibility is increased by biological and social factors. As more mental illnesses are understood to be caused or aggravated by biochemical irregularities, an already-damaged brain is at higher risk of biochemical imbalances.

As we are aware, people with IDD are often ostracized and have few, if any, social networks of support. Children with IDD are often treated differently and excluded from social activities. Among young adults, this isolation becomes more pronounced when students graduate without work prospects or established social circles. Social isolation and exclusion with no hope of change, combined with already-existing brain differences, set the stage for mental illness.

People with IDD often increase or decrease already-existing behavior anomalies (e.g., hand flapping, making loud noises, pacing). These baseline exaggerations are routinely mistaken for learned behaviors that are part of the developmental delays and not assessed as possible symptoms of an emerging mental illness (Silka and Hauser).

Our trained clinicians in dual diagnosis are aware of the possibility of co-occurring conditions. They ask the appropriate clinical questions, and create circumstances in which these individuals are treated with effective or appropriate methods.

Our Program Model has a holistic approach. It helps our individuals who seek “good health care”. The bio-psycho-social approach of our programs helps adults develop coping and self-management skills and access local resources needed to learn, work, and live as contributing members of their communities.

A team of clinicians, case workers, administrators along with direct-care counselors, work with program participants in providing residential services, and community based day services including CLS, vocational and employment services, psychotherapy, medication monitoring and PRP services in PG County. We are growing. In 2017 with CARF accreditation, we plan to open our first Outpatient mental health clinic and ACT program in Laurel. Our wrap around services combining psychiatric and primary care will be the model that we will recognize all over Maryland for the benefit of our defined population.

From a clinical perspective, it will be exciting to see advancements in the understanding of both mental illness and IDD. However, the need for community services and supports for people with a dual diagnosis is still significant. Programs of ACIDD offer hope, opportunity, and encouragement to some of the most vulnerable population that mental health professionals serve. Certainly, communities across the counties would benefit from more programs like ours.

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