Soteria and CHOICES provide effective alternatives to the more conventional services that are available. These services are flexible and intensive and appeal to people who do not fit well into the usual behavioral health services. These are people who are high users of jail, API, emergency services, youth residential treatment facilities.
Examples of how these services are different from the more conventional services:
1. Practitioners are competent by state standards and many of them have the lived experience of recovery. They themselves have overcome behavioral health challenges either personally or with family members. They have the bases skills and they can mentor from experience. Peer Support has a very high rate of effectiveness and is utilized around the country.
2. One Study demonstrating the Effectiveness of Peer Mentors: Results: Participants who were assigned a peer mentor had significantly fewer re-hospitalizations (.89±1.35 versus 1.53±1.54; p=.042 [one-tailed]) and fewer hospital days (10.08±17.31 versus 19.08±21.63 days; p<.03, [one tailed]). Conclusions: Despite the study's limitations, findings suggest that use of peer mentors is a promising intervention for reducing recurrent psychiatric hospitalizations for patients at risk of readmission. (Psychiatric Services 62:541–544, 2011)
3. Services are flexible—available when needed not just between the hours of 8 to 5, on weekends and evenings. An example of this is when one person who had difficulty maintaining housing lost his apartment keys. A CHOICES Recovery Coordinator was called and helped this individual access his apartment thus averting a possible arrest and/or hospitalization. This happened at night when other providers were not available.
4. Soteria residents are people who would otherwise be in more intensive, expensive services. While at Soteria they are provided with one to one support and monitoring for safety in an unlocked facility. This allows them to continue with productive life activities such as working, going to school, looking for permanent housing accompanied by a qualified staff person if necessary. In the last quarter of 2013 the Soteria house was full (5 residents). 3 of the 5 held jobs, 2 were looking for work and 2 were pursuing obtaining high school diploma’s.
The people who were pursuing high school diplomas had spent the last few years in costly residential treatment facilities where they were not able to work and where they had not gotten diplomas.
5. CHOICES and Soteria are available to people who have failed out of other treatment options. One example: a gentleman who had worked with more than one behavioral health provider and was homeless for 5 years worked with a Recovery Coordinator from CHOICES. He had a legal involvement history and was very difficult to house. The CHOICES Recovery Coordinator found housing and used mediation skills to help the individual retain housing and stay out of the hospital and jail. The gentleman remained housed 3 years.
Cost effectiveness: Soteria-House costs $450 to $500 per day per person versus Institutional In-Patient Psychiatric care which can cost anywhere from $1,400 per day per person to $1,800 per person. Soteria research demonstrates that in the long run graduates of Soteria model programs have much higher rates of lifetime recovery, take less medication, have reduced use of hospitals. We believe they also maintain a generally better more hopeful attitude about life.
People are often discharged very quickly from a institutional in-patient psychiatric program with a fairly high recidivism rate. People at Soteria can stay longer so that they are discharged into more stable situations such as independent housing vs. shelters and temporary housing. They leave with support of Peer Recovery Coordinators to help with the transition.
CHOICES has a unique program called peer bridgers. These are people who them selves have been in a hospital and learned how to become healthy and stay out of the hospital. They are available to walk out the door from Alaska Psychiatric Institute and provide a bridge into the community. These types of programs reduce hospital recidivism.