Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

JEVS Human Services

Name of Innovative Program: 
Happy Healthy Lives
Sponsoring Organization
JEVS Human Services
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Clara Thompson
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
Individuals with co-occurring diagnoses of mental illness and development disability require high levels of clinical support at great cost – often without achieving significant quality of life gains. Happy Healthy Life (HHL) is an adaptation of an evidence-based Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) model that helps dually- diagnosed individuals with behavioral health/intellectual disabilities (DD) understand and manage their illnesses and achieve improved health and quality of life.JEVS successfully implemented this pilot in 2007 with impressive outcomes including reduced psychiatric hospitalizations and crisis episodes and increased engagement and social interaction --determinants of overall health and well-being and is now working with other organizations throughout the country and internationally to implement the model.
Creativity and Innovation: 
The program is innovative in that it is intentionally disruptive - aiming to tear down the silos that comprise the service delivery environment for individuals with DD by engaging the consumers, their families and caregivers in a model that focuses on management, coping, and self-advocacy leading to greater independence.  The program incorporates a 10 module curriculum that begins with helping participants envision a “Happy Healthy Life” for themselves, progresses with strategies for effectively using medication, reducing relapses and developing coping mechanisms and culminates in a module on self-advocacy.  The empowering and engaging components are critical aspects of the program.
Driven by the desire for system change, Happy Healthy Life was born out of a belief in recovery and a desire to empower individuals to better understand and manage their mental illnesses.  The program engages families and care givers and this is a feature that distinguishes it from many other recovery models. The original pilot participants aptly named the program “Happy Healthy Life” which speaks to the power of the program in helping dually-diagnosed individuals take charge of their own care and quality of life. The name stuck because it so aptly describes the spirit and focus of the program.
The Happy Healthy Life program is an evidence-based Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) model with established curriculum and operating procedures that can be replicated by other providers serving dually-diagnosed individuals.  Under the visionary leadership of Marian Baldini, Chief Operating Officer of JEVS and talented program leadership including Clara Thompson and Jill Rogers, JEVS is actively encouraging other organizations to adapt the model. We have presented our initial findings at several professional and academic conferences including: the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Conference (IASSIDD), American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (PARF), Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities (PAR), Moving Agencies Toward Excellence (MAX) Association, and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Office of Developmental Programs (ODP).  As a result we are seeing strong interest within the Philadelphia region and from as far away as Canada and the Netherlands.
After the initial JEVS pilot, two Philadelphia-based providers implemented the program showing similar strong results.  We are working with organizations in Wisconsin and other states who are interested in replicating this model. Using a train the trainer approach, JEVS provides initial training and ongoing monthly technical assistance to help organizations successfully adapt the model within their own organization. It takes at least one year of monthly consultation to achieve sustained program fidelity.  As each organization becomes stronger in implementing the program, they have also shared their results.  JEVS believes in the success of individuals who participate in this program and wants others to have this powerful tool to use as well.
JEVS successfully implemented this pilot in 2007 with impressive outcomes including:  reduced psychiatric hospitalizations and crisis episodes and increased engagement and social interaction --determinants of overall health and well-being.  The initial18 month pilot included an engaging curriculum that allowed group participants to set the pace to meet their level of understanding. Incidents for the original pilot of 7 people dropped from a baseline of 11 prior to year 1 of the program to 2 in year 3 of the program and inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations dropped from a baseline of 5 prior to year 1 to 1 in year 3. Participant survey results indicated patient improvements in their understanding and management of illness and improvement in coping and social skills as measured from baseline.Happy Healthy Lives allowed us to eliminate costs of one to one 24-hour staffing for one DD individual. As of 2012, 5 years after the beginning of the pilot project, this individual lives with a roommate and they share a staff person. Replication of this lower cost model has the potential to save the Commonwealth and other states significant costs in the care of dually-diagnosed individuals.
Supporting Files: