Primary Care

Project Title

Evaluating Self-Directed Care for People with Serious Mental Illness in New York State

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Primary Care

Date Awarded

September 18, 2014


Outside New York State





People living with serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, often experience an ineffective, fragmented service system.

One promising opportunity to improve care delivery is to extend the self-directed model of care into behavioral health settings. Self-direction allows the individual to plan his or her services with the support of ongoing and individualized assessments; financial management services; and quality assurance and monitoring mechanisms. In January 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded New York State funding to implement self-direction in behavioral health settings. To leverage support for self-directed care models, NYHealth awarded the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS) a grant to support technical assistance and evaluation for the self-directed care pilot in New York State.

Under this grant, NRCPDS conducted a local evaluation of the self-directed care pilot in New York State. Specifically, NRCPDS assisted the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) in developing a formal plan to study the impact of self-directed care on individuals with serious mental illness. In addition, NRCPDS engaged OMH in collaborative conference calls with other states, helped develop OMH’s request for technical assistance to SAMHSA, and facilitated the provision of other direct technical assistance to OMH as needed. The evaluation of the self-directed care program addressed recovery rates and quality of life among participants; overall health improvements; associated cost reductions; and participant satisfaction. OMH, with the support of NRCPDS, was especially well positioned to test the effectiveness of self-direction in its behavioral health programs because of current changes to public insurance plans that facilitated better integration of primary and behavioral health care.