Philadelphia Unveils Community-Based Web Site For People With Mental Illness, Mental Retardation Or Substance Abuse Issues, Their Families And Service Providers

June 16, 2005
Network of Care

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia today introduced a breakthrough Web solution for individuals, families and agencies concerned with mental and emotional wellness. Philadelphia Network of Care and Supports for Behavioral Health & Mental Retardation Services is an online information place that provides critical information, communication and advocacy tools with a single point of entry. It ensures there is “No Wrong Door” for those navigating the system of behavioral health services, those working to avoid the need for formal services, and those ready to transition out of the behavioral health system.

Sponsored by an innovation grant from the State of California in partnership with the Philadelphia Office of Behavioral Health & Mental Retardation Services, Philadelphia Network of Care and Supports for Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services (www.networkofcare.org) is a pilot program for Philadelphia and the nation. Regardless of where individuals, families and agencies begin their search for assistance with behavioral health issues, Network of Care ensures they will find what they need. The new Web site will enable people to find the right service at the right time; educate themselves about their issues; understand current policy initiatives and advocate directly to elected officials, and better manage their affairs, interactions and important records.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the $60,000 city-funded initiative attempts to centralize the overwhelming amount of information available on the Internet about mental health, addiction, and mental retardation, said Dr. Arthur Evans, director of the city's Office of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services.

Evans said the free site, covering services from in-patient hospital care to self-help support groups, is intended for both patients and providers of mental health services.

"We want people to regain their lives and be integrated within the community," Evans said, adding that the site is part of larger effort to eliminate racial health disparities and give consumers more control over their treatment.

The Network of Care provides a comprehensive Service Directory of the approximately 500 service providers in Philadelphia, putting people in touch with the right services at the right time. Network of Care also provides easy-to-search libraries and vital information about specific disorders, pending legislation and advocacy, as well as daily news articles from around the world concerning mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse.

To increase accessibility and accommodate Network of Care’s users, the site’s innovative technology provides near-universal access, regardless of literacy or income level, to Web-based services through a text-only version of the site and other adaptive technologies. The site is fully ADA-compliant and Bobby-approved. Network of Care also is available in multiple languages.

Service providers can share challenges and ideas, as well as create powerful new mechanisms to better serve people with mental illness, mental retardation and substance abuse, by embracing Network of Care’s communication tools such as message boards and community calendars.

Trilogy Integrated Resources LLC of San Rafael, Calif., created, developed and maintains Network of Care and all of the other California Network of Care Web sites, including Network of Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities, currently serving one-third of California’s population; Network of Care for Mental/Behavioral Health, now serving counties in several states; Network of Care for Kids (ages 0-5), and Network of Care for Children & Families (ages 0-18). Based on requests from across the nation, Trilogy is also developing Network of Care sites for developmental disabilities, domestic violence, and community health.

Trilogy, the leading information provider in the field