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MHRB Shares In Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation Grant

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Portage County – The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation awarded a $100,800 grant to the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, Valley Counseling in Trumbull County and Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health in Stark County to implement a tested treatment program using consumer feedback to help counselors adjust therapy as needed for the best possible results.

The three-year grant to set up the Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) program will impact the work of more than 200 therapists seeing consumers at six Northeast Ohio mental health agencies including four in Portage County: Coleman Professional Services, Townhall II, Family and Community Services, Inc. and Children’s Advantage.

“Patients are more dedicated when they know their opinion matters on whether or not treatment is working,” said Thom Craig, Director of Mental Health Programs for The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation. “Counseling is most effective when the voice of the patient is valued, and FIT makes this routine. This project is especially exciting because it emphasizes fundamental values, like patient empowerment and genuine listening, making them visible throughout the counseling relationship. Together patient and counselor can track measurable growth.”

Based on 40 years of research, the FIT program is an evidence-based practice, a model which uses the best available clinical research and takes the diversity of the consumer into consideration.  FIT combines the use of a web-based evaluation tool called MyOutcomes with extensive training for therapists and continual consultation support by the creators of FIT.

Mental Health & Recovery Board Executive Director Joel Mowrey, who co-authored the grant, said the use of both FIT and the web-based evaluation tool will help consumers evaluate their own progress and describe improvements or problems that they are experiencing in treatment.

“Therapists will be able to take that feedback and make adjustments to treatment right away. That ultimately benefits the client’s mental health and his or her relationship with the therapist, fostering trust and moving forward with recovery,” said Mowrey.

An internationally-recognized licensed software program, MyOutcomes enables consumers to track their treatment progress and relationship with their therapist by using two different measuring systems. Consumers then obtain instantaneous reports about both their current and past progress and have a visual representation of their improvement or of the problems they are encountering.

“The FIT model creates a healing environment based on feedback that helps consumers focus on improvement and moving therapy along by identifying goals and measuring progress toward these goals. Therapists are then able to redirect sessions as needed. FIT has an excellent track record,” Mowrey added.

FIT incorporates the work of Dr. Scott D. Miller, the founder and director of the International Center for Clinical Excellence in Chicago. ICCE is an international consortium of clinicians, researchers, healthcare managers and educators dedicated to promoting excellence in behavioral health services.

FIT is an integral part of the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) that was recently approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as an evidence-based practice.  FIT was given the highest rating possible by SAMHSA for easy implementation with detailed training manuals for therapists, support from Miller and his group and trainings.

FIT has been implemented by four other mental health and recovery board areas in Ohio at community behavioral health treatment agencies funded by the boards, as well as nationally and internationally.

 

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Amie Cajka is the Director of Community Relations for the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.The Mental Health & Recovery Board is a county agency that fund, plans and monitors public mental health and substance abuse treatment services for Portage County residents. Last year, the board invested in services that helped more than 7,000 children, teens and adults. The board also funds the 24-hour crisis intervention services which handle more than 39,000 contacts each year. The agency is primarily funded by local levies. To contact the board, call 330-673-1756.