Summit County organizations to use streamlined software service for resource referrals
Summit County’s nonprofits soon will have a streamlined process for recommending services to clients.
Building Hope Summit County, the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office mental heath response team and other behavioral health groups have teamed up to start using Unite Us, a software platform that allows nonprofits to work together to provide services for clients.
The platform, which is being funded for its first year in the county through a grant provided to the family resource center, collects information about nonprofit clients and sends it out to all participating programs.
“It’s really an electronic referral system that can be used between community-based organizations and government and hospitals in order to really streamline and create a closed-loop referral system,” Building Hope Executive Director Jen McAtamney said.
For example, if someone were to go to the family resource center to get advice from a mental health navigator, the person working at the center would be able to use Unite Us to connect the client with resources across the county.
The program is set to launch in Summit County on March 23, McAtamney said. At first, it will include only a core group of organizations that help with behavioral health, including Building Hope, the family resource center, the Sheriff’s Office SMART team, Summit Advocates and the Summit Community Care Clinic.
Eventually, McAtamney hopes the program will expand to organizations and governments across the county. At a Summit Board of County Commissioners work session Tuesday, Feb. 16, Human Services Director Joanne Sprouse said the department is excited about the possibilities with the program.
“I think it’d be really helpful for our clients so we know what they’re going through and what they’re eligible for,” Sprouse said.
Although the program will be used internally by all of the participating organizations, McAtamney said clients should find it much easier to get access to resources at an already stressful time.
“When someone is having a mental health crisis or challenge, often times not only do they need to be checked into therapy or (connected with) a peer, but they often times have other parts of their life that aren’t working,” she said.
McAtamney said the platform will help clients who are struggling to get access to employment, housing and food resources provided by other nonprofits, removing barriers to caring for their mental health.
Unite Us has a sister program on the Front Range called Unite Colorado. Through the platform, McAtamney said local nonprofits also will have better access to services across the Front Range.
Brianne Snow, executive director of the family resource center, said the platform will also help nonprofits get to know more about their clients and find solutions that can support them.
“We can make sure that there’s no missing links for that client and really make sure that they have the wraparound services that they need,” Snow said.
Snow added that there’s a level of burnout when it comes to clients having to access services. People can find themselves filling out what seems to be endless paperwork when they’re searching for resources to get back on their feet. For people who are struggling with mental health issues, the process can be even more discouraging, she said.
The platform will help alleviate some of that stress by not forcing people to go from resource to resource and explain their situation over and over again.
“It will be more seamless for them where they don’t feel like they’re starting over at every turn,” Snow said.
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