WellSpan's START Program: Integrating Behavioral Health, Justice and Community in York County

In 2019, Pennsylvania’s York County Community Needs Assessment revealed a community in crisis. Over half of the area’s population experienced depressive symptoms within a two-week period, yet residents struggled to get needed care. 21% of respondents didn’t know where to find a mental health provider and another 29% found the cost to be a barrier. Coupled with a provider shortage that led to a six-or-more month treatment wait, the community’s complex behavioral needs often intersected with justice system involvement.

In 2020, South Central Pennsylvania-based WellSpan Health launched the Specialized Treatment and Recovery Team (START), a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) which was largely supported by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program provides integrated care for individuals considered too complex for conventional outpatient treatment or require immediate access to care to avoid a higher level of care.