New Self Direction in Mental Health Website

July 28, 2017

The Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) and Applied Self Direction, the new home for the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS), are pleased to announce the release of a new website, www.mentalhealthselfdirection.org, with information and research findings on selfdirection, a relatively new approach to recovery for people with serious mental health conditions.

Users of the new site will find:

  • Personal stories and video testimonials from people who are self-directing their services
  • An overview of self-direction and a basic description of its core elements
  • Descriptions of and links to the latest research, which will be updated as results become available
  • Links to additional resources at the state and national level

Self-direction is rooted in choice, control, and self-determination. People who self-direct control an individualized budget and have the flexibility to choose from a much broaderthan-usual range of goods, services, and supports to overcome challenges and reach their personal and professional goals. Research shows that this flexibility is key; people can make greater strides toward long-term recovery when they self-direct.

For the past three years, HSRI, Applied Self Direction, and NRCPDS—with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New York State Health Foundation, and with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—have worked together to evaluate demonstrations of self-direction in six states. As part of this work, they’ve examined successes and challenges as states implement this new service delivery model, and they’ve analyzed administrative data to understand self-direction’s impact on individuals and populations.

“With mentalhealthselfdirection.org, we’re excited to share data related to this promising new approach. According to our own studies and those of other researchers, self-direction has the potential to produce better outcomes that facilitate mental health recovery, including employment and housing stability, self-sufficiency, and engagement in mutual support and self-advocacy,” said David Hughes, president of the Human Services Research Institute. A growing body of evidence also shows that self-direction can improve quality of life by contributing to people's self-esteem, their ability to have meaningful relationships, and their community participation.

“We hope this new website will help spread the word about self-direction and serve as a resource for people interested in learning more about the approach and its evidence base,” said Bevin Croft, a research associate who is leading the project at HSRI.