Mental Health Assessment and Support Project

2017-2020 DDS MHSA Funded Project

Mental Health Assessment and Support Project

In January of 2018, SCLARC was awarded a three-year grant for $540,780 from the Department of Developmental Services through Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding. SCLARC has partnered with Shields for Families to implement the grant.

In collaboration with Shields for Families, this project created a specialized mental health triage team. The team provides person-centered case formulation, treatment planning, mental health, psychiatric assessment, and referral services to persons with developmental disabilities at risk for, or diagnosed with, co-occurring mental disorders. Additionally, through community collaboration, the project specifically:

  • Increased internal and external identification of dually diagnosed consumers;
  • Trained Service Coordinators in making appropriate referrals and recognizing mental health conditions;
  • Trained vendors in recognizing characteristics of co-occurring diagnoses; and,
  • Increased the number of mental health clinicians capable of serving this population locally.
  • Enhanced cross system collaboration between Regional Center and Department of Mental Health.

Grant Outcomes

As a part of the project, SCLARC developed a Mental Health Screening Tool, for use by Service Coordinators in identifying and referring consumers in need of mental health assessment and/or services. Additionally, a Mental Health Risk Assessment Tool was developed as part of internal process to guide process for referrals and risk assessment to assist with triage team assessment and treatment planning. Both of these documents have now been added to SCLARC’s web-based consumer chart management system.

In addition, features have been added to the screening tool, allowing Service Coordinators to electronically refer consumers in need of Triage Team support.

Through outreach and engagement, the MHSA grant objectives were shared with representatives of Department of Mental Health (DMH) who embraced the benefit of mental health services for South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC) consumers and committed to learning about SCLARC’s system and service delivery, and developmental disabilities.

The commitment to a collaborative partnership by SCLARC representatives, DMH representatives, Shields for Families (principal community partner), and ongoing community partners (i.e. Tessie Cleveland, Kedren), facilitated the MHSA Triage Team meeting that takes place every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at South Central Los Angeles Regional Center. The purpose of the MHSA Triage Team meeting is to discuss consumers’ behaviors and symptoms, strengths and challenges, SCLARC services in place and services needed, and appropriateness and linkage to mental health services. SCLARC’s collaborative working relationship with our partners has proven to be very effective for increasing linkage to mental health services for our consumers, based on understanding of co-occurring disorders and adapting treatment services to meet needs of this unique population.

  • The MHSA team met with eleven (11) Case Management units of the Department of Children and Adult Services to introduce the MHSA grant, provide training about dual diagnoses, to explain use of the screening tool, explain the referral process and provide information on upcoming trainings to improve ability to refer for mental health disorders.
  • On August 16, 2018 SCLARC hosted a training for community mental health providers, Mental Health Interventions for Individuals with Dual Diagnosis (Intellectual Disability and Mental Health [ID/MH]), led by Dr. Darlene Sweetland, licensed clinical psychologist. Training topics included:
    • Addressing complicating factors of working with individuals with dual diagnosis disorders (ID/MH),
    • Developmental, emotional and cognitive considerations in treatment
    • Presentation of mental health disorders in adults with intellectual disabilities,
    • Using the Diagnostic Manual for Intellectual Disabilities (free copies provided to attendees), and
    • Strategies for adaptation of treatment intervention
  •  On September 26, 2018 SCLARC hosted a second training by Dr. Sweetland for vendor service providers and SCLARC staff, Supporting Adults with Dual Diagnosis (ID/MH): Understanding the Complicating Factors of Diagnosis, Treatment and Cross Systems Collaboration

Project Documents

For additional information about this project, please contact:

Maricel Cruzat
SCLARC Clinical Director

South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC) provides education, assessment, training and services in the communities of South Los Angeles, Watts, Leimert Park, Florence/Firestone, West Adams, and the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Compton, Cudahy, Downey, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Maywood, Vernon, South Gate, North Carson, Gardena, and Paramount.