SPARTANBURG — On behalf of the Spartanburg County Behavioral Health Taskforce, United Way of the Piedmont is pleased to announce the recent award of a $90,000 grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation. The grant will support the Behavioral Health Task Force’s newest endeavor to bring a Reassurance Line to Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties.
The Behavioral Health Task Force is a think tank consisting of 25 members that have worked for the past three years to form alliances and partnerships among community service organizations to address behavioral health challenges. The Task Force imbeds programs and services into community organizations where they best fit so long-term outcomes can be realized, measurable change can be achieved, and results can be sustained. Through its work, the Task Force identified the need for a crisis line to better support individuals in recovery to maintain their independence.
The Reassurance Line provides patients with severe and persistent mental illness with daily calls of support from highly trained “peer specialists.” The specialists check-in on the client’s stability and progress four to ten times per day depending on the patient’s need. As peers, the specialists are often individuals who have dealt with some form of behavioral health issue themselves and therefore are more likely to connect with clients and insure success.
Mental Health America of Greenville County had already been implementing this model since 2002, but the organization lacked the capacity to expand into other counties. Through the Behavioral Health Task Force, the United Way of the Piedmont was able to bring the necessary resources and organizations together to launch the program in three new counties.
The Reassurance Line also serves to reduce the rate of visits to the emergency room and in-patient hospitalization for behavioral health issues. In Spartanburg County alone, there are 5,295 of these types of visits annually, totaling $32,610,419 in associated medical costs.
Due to the turnkey nature of the program, the Reassurance Line was able to launch in the beginning of January and immediately begin accepting patients. In its first year, the program expects to serve 60 new patients, and the Behavioral Health Task Force is already working on a sustainability plan to make this a long-term resource for the community.
Jane Clemmer is a founding member of the Behavioral Health Task Force and the Executive Director of New Day Clubhouse, an organization that will now be able to refer clients to the Reassurance Line. Clemmer says, “The Reassurance Line will allow our clients to connect with others to obtain needed support. Often times, our clients just need a listening ear when they are lonely or just want to hear from someone that knows what they are going through. Knowing that
someone cares enough to call could keep that client from a potential crisis or being hospitalized.”
BlueCross BlueShield Foundation
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the BlueCross BlueShield Foundation (www.BCBSSCFoundation.org) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Its mission is to promote and support healthier South Carolinians, particularly the economically vulnerable, by supporting solutions to address gaps in health care and serving as an agent of change for innovation and value-added public-private partnerships.
United Way of the Piedmont
United Way of the Piedmont is a local nonprofit that works to create opportunities for a stronger, healthier community for us all. Our mission is to connect, engage and inspire people to transform our community. Our priority areas are Education, Financial Stability, and Health because we believe these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We recruit people and organizations from across the community who possess the passion, expertise, and resources to get things done. We believe that every individual should be engaged in their community, and United Way can be the source of that connection. When you GIVE of your financial resources, ADVOCATE for a cause, or VOLUNTEER your time, you become part of the change that creates a better life for all.
This story courtesy of United Way of the Piedmont.