President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Showcases California’s Network of Care

July 22, 2003
Network of Care

The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health has showcased California’s Network of Care for Mental Health (http://www.networkofcare.org) as a model program in its ambitious, six-goal plan to fundamentally transform mental health care in America.

Today, the Commission’s final report, “Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America,” identifies Network of Care for Mental Health as a model program that illustrates its goal of using technology to access mental health care and information. This special California project was developed as a partnership between the California Department of Mental Health, San Diego County, and Trilogy Integrated Resources LLC. Principal collaborators include the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the California Institute for Mental Health, and the California Mental Health Association.

President Bush appointed the Commission in April 2002 to study the mental health service delivery system and to make recommendations that would enable adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbance to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. “Consumers should have the choice and capability to obtain, store, and share their personal health information,” the Commission states. “The Network of Care for Mental Health, an individualized mental health resource Web site, provides a model for how consumers can use Internet technology to find pertinent mental health information; identify available services, supports, and community resources; and keep personal records on secure computer servers.”

The Commission found that the general public can now access a great deal of valuable health information through the Internet. Most consumers and families want up-to-date information about the symptoms and mental disorders with which they are dealing, as well as information on effective treatments and supportive services. But today, reliable information is not always available when and how people need it most, and it is not readily or universally accessible to all Americans, the report states.

“Systems are already available to support access to Internet assessment services and health information sources in order to build a personalized health information library,” the Commission states, referring to Network of Care for Mental Health.

“The user-friendly Web site enables consumers and families to find pertinent mental health information; identify available services, supports, and community resources; and keep personal records on secure servers. Consumers and families can search the site's comprehensive Service Directory – by age group, diagnosis, program or agency name, keyword, or by using the 20-category menu – for mental health treatment and supportive services provided by the county and other organizations. The site also offers up-to-date information about diagnoses, insurance, and advocacy, as well as daily news from around the world concerning mental health.

“The Network of Care Web site can be easily and cost-effectively replicated in any location,” the Commission continues, “because the entire infrastructure – and many of the data components; e.g., the library and national links – are identical from one region to another.”

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by such a respected group of luminaries in the field of mental health,” said Bruce Bronzan, president of Trilogy Integrated Resources LLC, the company that created, developed and maintains all Network of Care Web sites. “However, this is an honor we must share with all of our partners, especially Dr. Steven Mayberg, director of the California Department of Mental Health; the team at the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s Mental Health Services, and the many consumers and family members who helped develop the site.”

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