NC START helps reduce the risks and outcomes of mental health crisis

North Carolina Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources and Treatment (NC START) is a statewide community crisis prevention and intervention program for individuals living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) and co-occurring complex behavioral and/or mental health needs.

We provide crisis response support, training, consultation and resources. In working with families, the goal is to create a support network that is able to respond to crisis needs.

The NC START/Central Team provides prevention and intervention services to individuals living with IDD and complex behavioral health needs through crisis response, training, consultation and resources. We believe services are most effective when everyone involved in care and treatment are active participants in the treatment planning and service decisions. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

Frequently asked questions about NC START

How is a referral made for NC START CENTRAL Services?
  • Referrals for individuals age 6 to 20 are given to us directly from the managed care organization (MCO) for that county. If you aren’t sure which MCO operates in your county, please refer to the LME-MCO county map on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.
  • Referrals for individuals age 21 and older: Anyone can refer these individuals for services through our program by calling our 24/7 crisis and referral line at 919-865-8730. The on-call coordinator answering the phone will take information and will add the individual to our waitlist.
How do I know which region I should contact for services?

NC START is a statewide program and we are divided into three regions. NC START West, NC START Central, and NC START East. The individual will receive services based on the county they live in. View and/or download the PDF of our map to find out which region serves your county.

How much do services cost?

NC START services are free to individuals no matter what type of insurance or funding the individual has.

What happens when my case is opened with NC START

When a case is opened with NC START, the individual and the team of support will be notified by an NC START Clinical Coordinator and an intake meeting will be set up. During that meeting, the team will determine how NC START can be of the most help on the case.

Do I need Innovations or other services to get NC START services?

Innovations funding is not required. Individuals are also not required to have other services in place.

However we are a systems model, which means we work with whatever service providers, family members, etc. the individual has in place. We do not replace other services, we act as consultants to the services and support systems that are already in place. If an individual does not have any providers, we will provide support by linking them to the appropriate supports. We do not replace other services, we act as consultants to the services and support systems that are already in place.

What will an NC START coordinator do for my case?

Clinical coordinators act as consultants and educators. Their roles on teams vary so that they can provide the support, consultation, and education that will be most helpful to that team. Coordinators collaborate with the team to write a comprehensive crisis prevention and intervention plan and trains members on the team on how to use it. They also provide training on how to see an individual through a holistic lens and how to change the environment to best support an individual by looking at their strengths.

What other services does NC START offer besides coordinators?

NC START is a team approach. We utilize the skills and clinical knowledge of the whole NC START clinical team to drive our services. For the individuals we support, the assigned coordinator will work with the team to see if utilizing our Resource Center or START Therapeutic Coaching (STC) program would be appropriate and therapeutic while also educating, training, and collaborating with the individual’s community team.

For the community, our team offers trainings, resources, education and collaborative linkages. We regularly collaborate with community providers who are engaged with individuals living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) to provide psychoeducation and monthly community trainings regarding the intersection of IDD and other mental health diagnoses and vulnerabilities.

Examples of trainings offered include:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder and Dialectical Behavior
  • Therapy (DBT) Strategies for Individuals with IDD
  • IDD and Core Vulnerabilities
  • Trauma Informed-Care for Individuals with IDD
  • Positive Psychology for Supporting Vulnerabilities and Crisis Planning
  • Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and IDD
If an individual is in crisis and I call the crisis line, will NC START come pick them up?

No, NC START will not come and pick up individuals in crisis. For individuals enrolled in the NC START program, we offer consultation by phone and may come out for a physical response to help de-escalate the situation depending on the circumstances. We also assess the individuals we serve in hospital settings to collaborate with psychiatrists and medical staff on how the person can be safely supported in the community rather than enduring a traumatic long-term hospitalization.

We do not offer in-person response for individuals who are not actively enrolled in the NC START program.

Crisis NC START two male clients smiling
Crisis NC START dad holding up child smiling

Therapeutic coaching for children and adults

START Therapeutic Coaching (STC) is a therapeutic coaching program offered to active participants of NC START/Central Team of all ages. This program works in four phases and aims to identify strengths and vulnerabilities of a system to work alongside individuals and care providers to promote growth and overall well-being.

Coaches are highly trained to offer therapeutic resources, strategies and skills that can promote growth.  STC is a short-term program (ranging from three days to six weeks) and the number of hours for STC will be determined by the NC START team in conjunction with the individual’s team based on need, availability and appropriateness.

NC START Resource Centers are here to help

Resource Centers are community-based therapeutic support programs that support active NC START participants ages 18 and older. They are not available for community respite for individuals who are not currently receiving NC START services. We provide crisis intervention and therapeutic respite services in a residential setting and work to improve the overall quality of life for the individuals we serve.

  • Therapeutic support programs include an alternative to hospitalization, provide support to individuals in distress, assist in hospital step down and provide ongoing support to an individual who cannot access or benefit from traditional respite programs.
  • Guests must have a viable place of discharge at admission.
  • Collaboration from community team is required.

Please note: NC START is not a respite provider and does not provide services to individuals needing respite only.

Here’s what our team members are saying…

“I love what we do because we provide an opportunity to create hope and positivity for the individuals and teams we serve.”

“I love being able to apply a positive psychology, strength-based approach to empower individuals and provide hope to families.”

“I love our positive approach that instills integrity, fosters respect and empowers the individuals we support and the people in their lives.”

“I value the opportunity to collaborate with others in the community to ensure we are empowering individuals and their families.”

Be a part of our story.