Southwest Solutions pilots innovative BasicNeeds Model

November 18th, 2016
Bethany Hedden (seated at the table on the right), Basic Needs Community Coordinator at Southwest Solutions. speaks with consumers at the Go-Getters Drop-in Center.

The BasicNeeds Model for Mental Health has achieved outstanding results in improving the lives of persons living with mental illness in a dozen countries, but it has never been implemented in America. Until now.

Southwest Solutions has begun a BasicNeeds pilot in Detroit through a one-year grant from the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority (DMWHA).

BasicNeeds has proven to be effective in significantly increasing access to treatment, reducing symptoms, increasing the ability to work, and increasing social engagement. The Model works by strengthening participants sense of self-efficacy and their connections with each other, family and community. It is not an added “program” per se. Rather, it builds upon the capacity of existing programs and their staff, and reorients the perspective on serving consumers in the programs.

Because Southwest Solutions already takes a person-centered recovery approach, the organization is particularly conducive to the BasicNeeds Model and is an opportune place to pilot its implementation in the United States.

“BasicNeeds is about enhancing expectations and belief in what people can do to achieve goals and effect change,” said Bethany Hedden, Basic Needs Community Coordinator at Southwest Solutions. “Meaningful change is credited to the consumer and not to the program or staff.”

Bethany speaks with Shirley Cockrell, who runs Go-Getters, about a flyer inviting Go-Getters’ consumers to self-help groups.

Bethany is working with our Go-Getters Drop-in Center, Waterman Outpatient Clinic, and Cornerstone program. Her plan is to gather baseline data, strengthen self-help groups, and encourage advocacy for changes in the system that would improve access to treatment and the coordination of care.

At Go-Getters, she is already helping facilitate self-help groups, which are an important component of the BasicNeeds Model. Self-help groups help consumers share their experiences in a supportive environment, better manage their mental health, and overcome isolation and develop a deeper sense of belonging.

The BasicNeeds Model was founded by Chris Underhill in the United Kingdom in 2000. It is the largest international Non-Governmental Organization (iNGO) devoted to mental health and has helped more than 665,000 people in resource-poor areas in Asia and Africa. The Model is being adapted to the particular conditions and culture of southwest Detroit. BasicNeeds experts are providing training and mentoring during this process.

Southwest Solutions and BasicNeeds estimates that it will take three to five years to fully implement the adapted Model in Detroit and bring it to scale by enlisting partners, funders and stakeholders from multiple sectors. Although BasicNeeds Detroit is starting small and quite localized, it is an ambitious consumer empowerment and community development effort that has implications for how and where the Model will be implemented elsewhere in the country.

To learn more about BasicNeeds Detroit, email Bethany or call her at 313-481-3165.

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