FARMINGTON -- Expanding early-intervention programming for youths encountering substance abuse or mental health issues should reduce state hospital stays and eliminate jail time for the consumer.
The expansion plan is part of two-pronged initiative to be introduced by Davis Behavioral Health Inc. for fiscal year 2013-14.
By emphasizing early intervention and making behavioral health counselors readily available to Davis School District officials, the nonprofit corporation will be able to keep more youths who are encountering such challenges at home, where their support is, said L. Dean Smith, Chief Financial Officer of Davis Behavioral Health Inc.
Smith recently appeared before the Davis County Commission to give the group an explanation of the differences between DBH's current 2012-13 fiscal year plan, and its plan to take effect this July 1, to receive the commission's approval for it.
DBH contracts with the county to serve its mental health counseling needs.
Davis Behavioral Health Inc., in receiving a new source of permanent funding from the state -- about $360,000 more for the coming fiscal year -- will expand its early-
intervention programs for youths by adding staff and programming that allows the corporation to work in collaboration with Davis School District, Smith said.
District officials expressed pleasure when it came to the district's working relationship with Davis Behavioral Health.
"We have always had an (early-
intervention) program here in our own facilities," Smith said of the DBH clinic on the Layton/Kaysville border, and the DBH campus of four buildings adjacent to Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton. The campus includes a 16-bed residential facility staffed around the clock.
But the new plan, Smith said, will allow DBH counselors into Davis schools and "in the trenches" with youths who may need the services.
With its current outreach program DBH since Oct. 1 of 2012, the date in which its new record-keeping system first took effect, has assisted about 500 children and their families, as well as 1,100 adults, said Todd Soutor, licensed psychologist and DBH director of crisis services.
By expanding early-
intervention programming through partnerships with other organizations, Soutor said, he would expect the number of consumers being served by DBH will only grow more rapidly.
The other initiative for the coming year is directed at children spending too much time in state institutions, when they may be treatable at home, Smith said.
"We don't have a lot of children we have to house in the state hospital," Smith said. But a handful of youths in Davis County have more acute problems, he said.
Both initiatives are made possible by the state Legislature permanently providing an additional $3 million a year in statewide funding for substance abuse and mental health treatment.
"We're trying to intervene in a crisis situation as immediately as possible," Soutor said.
Souter said early intervention may help the consumer avoid visiting area hospital emergency rooms and can eliminate the need for the family to call police in those instances when they might become unruly, Soutor said.
Providing early intervention can prevent the crisis from becoming unmanageable, which in some cases will allow the consumer to remain with his or her family in their community and home, Soutor said.
"Whatever we can do to help to maintain that, we want to do that," he said. "We're very excited about this program."