Community Support Program

Community Support Program Values and Principles

The CSP philosophy is embodied in a set of guiding principles, emphasizing client self-determination, individualized and flexible services, normalized services and service settings, and service coordination.

Services should be consumer-centered. Services should be based on and responsive to the needs of the client rather than the needs of the system or the needs of providers.

Services should empower clients. Services should incorporate consumer self-help approaches and should be provided in a manner that allows clients to retain the greatest possible control over their own lives. As much as possible, clients should set their own goals and decide what services they will receive. Clients also should be actively involved in all aspects of planning and delivering services.

Services should be racially and culturally appropriate. Services should be available, accessible and acceptable to members of racial and ethnic minority groups and women.

Services should be flexible. Services should be built upon the assets and strengths of clients in order to help them maintain a sense of identity, dignity and self-esteem.

Services should be normalized and incorporate natural supports. Services should be offered in the least restrictive, most natural setting possible. Clients should be encouraged to use the natural supports in the community and should be integrated into the normal living, working, learning and leisure time activities of the community.

Services should meet special needs. Services should be adapted to meet the needs of subgroups of severely mentally ill persons such as elderly individuals in the community or institutions; young adults and youth in transition to adulthood; mentally ill individuals with substance abuse problems, mental retardation, or hearing impairments; mentally ill persons who are homeless; and mentally ill persons who are inappropriately placed within the correctional system.

Services systems should be accountable. Service providers should be accountable to the users of the services and monitored by the state to assure quality of care and continued relevance to client needs. Primary consumers and families should be involved in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating services.

Services should be coordinated. In order to develop community support systems, services should be coordinated through mandates or written agreements that require ongoing communication and linkages between participating agencies and between the various levels of government. In order to be effective, coordination must occur at the client, community and state levels. In addition, mechanisms should be in place to ensure continuity of care and coordination between hospital and other community services.

(Taken from "Community Support Systems: Questions and Answers," by The National Institute of Mental Health Community Support Program)

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