Research Brief: Building on the Successes of Voucher Models to Promote Self-Direction

Date: 10/2019

Author(s): HSRI

It’s well-documented that people with serious mental health conditions have difficulties getting the services they need to recover. Do mental health self-direction programs get people connected to and engaged with services and resources in their communities that can help with their recovery? To find out, HSRI researchers looked at 2 years of data from 94 participants in a self-direction program in Utah. The program was based on the state’s successful Access to Recovery program, a voucher-based model that connects people in recovery from substance use problems to non-traditional goods and services.

The team compared the amounts of mental health services used by people before and after they began participating in self-direction. They also compared those results against service use for a similar group of people who did not self-direct. 

This Research Brief summarizes the results of the new research. The team looked at service use across four categories of mental health services:

  • Rehabilitation 
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Residential
  • Emergency Services

They found:

  • Self-directing participants had greater increases than non-participants in their use of rehabilitation and outpatient treatment services.
  • Self-directing participants used an average of 63 more rehabilitation service hours than non-participants, and an average of 22 more outpatient treatment hours.
  • No differences between participants and non-participants in use of residential and emergency services
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