SOAR eNews - May 2014

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May 2014

Spotlight on Miami-Dade's SOAR Collaboration with the Courts: Diverting Defendants with Mental Illness

Since 1949, Mental Health America has spearheaded May is Mental Health Awareness Month by reaching out to millions of people across the country via the media, local events, and screenings. The theme for 2014 is “Mind Your Health,” and one of the goals is to raise awareness about the importance of mental health as part of overall health and wellness.
In recognition of this theme, we would like to share an inspiring article about SOAR that appeared in Psychiatric News, “Defendants With Mental Illness Diverted to Social Security System.” The article features Miami-Dade’s innovative SOAR collaboration with the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project (CMHP). Please visit:
Since 2000, CMHP has diverted people with serious mental illness from the criminal justice system to community-based treatment, housing, and other services. We have all seen how access to SSI/SSDI benefits, both cash and health insurance, contributes to better overall health outcomes.
The SOAR TA Center often highlights Miami-Dade’s SOAR Program in our national presentations and forums and many of you have personally reached out to Cindy Schwartz, CMHP’s Program Director, to learn how to replicate this best practice within your Court system. “They are a model for all localities,” states Dazara Ware, Senior Project Associate at the SOAR TA Center.
Ms. Schwartz explains, “SOAR is a tool for people to move toward recovery. You can’t move ahead without a roof over your head.” By making the link with housing and healthcare, Miami shows how people with mental illness who are justice involved are successfully reintegrating into their communities. Cindy is so positive and upbeat about SOAR and its real message of recovery, we think you will be interested in learning more about her staffing philosophy.
Find out the many ways your organization can observe Mental Health Awareness Month at May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Sharing Our Successes

SOAR News and Accomplishments
Phoenix, AZ: New SOAR Leader and case manager, Loren Gallegly, with Lodestar Day Resource Center, has a 100% approval rate in an average of 60 days on 3 SOAR applications since late January. Congratulations Loren!
Davenport, IA: Dedicated SOAR caseworker, Tiffany Norwoood, from Humility of Mary Shelter just received notice of her first approval. The approval came in less than 2 months, and the applicant was approved for both SSI and SSDI.  Keep up the great work, Tiffany!
Great news from Nevada: Clark County Social Service will utilize CABHI grant funds to recruit and hire a Statewide SOAR Coordinator. Congratulations!
If you have a SOAR-related success story to share, e-mail
New Issue Brief and Tip Sheet Released
Collaboration with SSA and DDS: Something for Everyone: We all know how important building strong working relationships with our partners at SSA and DDS is to successful SOAR outcomes. In this issue brief, you will learn how SSA and DDS work with SOAR and the benefits of establishing a SOAR process. SSA and DDS personnel share how they approach SOAR collaborations, which can be replicated in your area. To learn more, visit: Collaboration with SSA and DDS: Something for Everyone
SSA and VA Benefits Tip Sheet: This updated version of our SSA and VA Benefit Tip sheet is loaded with new information about SSA’s recent initiatives to expedite SSI/SSDI claims. Also, we explain in greater detail how SSA and VA benefits impact each other. To learn more, visit: SSA and VA Benefits Tip sheet
SOAR Fundamentals Webinars
On April 24, we held the final webinar in our three-part Leadership Academy Webinar Series for Trainers. This webinar series was intended to invest in our existing SOAR trainers and offer you additional educational experiences to enhance your current efforts.
As a reminder, SOAR TA Center resources transitioned this year to the development and ongoing support of SOAR community leaders through training and mentorship at SOAR Leadership Academies. SOAR local leads and trainers conduct one-day SOAR Fundamentals trainings for individuals who have completed the online course (or 2-day training) to include a refresher of the SOAR core elements as well as training on the state/local SOAR process.

If you missed the Leadership Academy Webinar Series for Trainers, we encourage you to view the recordings and review the materials presented.
SOAR Learning Community Calls
On March 18th, 91 participants joined our first SOAR Learning Community Call. The SOAR TA Center shared information about creating and leading SOAR steering committees, and participants exchanged ideas about how to apply it in their communities. If you missed the call, please access the recording here:
Please join us for the upcoming Learning Community Calls, Funding and Sustainability and Supporting Quality Applications. See details below.

Upcoming Center Events

SOAR Learning Community Calls
Funding and Sustainability, Tuesday, May 20, 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EDT) Register Here
Supporting Quality Applications, Tuesday, July 22, 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EDT) Register Here
Upcoming SOAR Leadership Academies
June 3-5, 2014 in Portland, OR
September 10-12, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA
Please contact the SOAR TA Center or your State Team Lead if you are interested in attending.