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Social Model Recovery Systems, Inc.

Link 2 Recovery & Wellness


From 2020 our daily rituals have been disrupted and many have suffered devastating effects to their mental health and increased substance use due to COVID-19. Feelings of fear, anger, and anxiety have exposed the vulnerability of our communities. Social Model Recovery Systems serves over 1200 participants a year and provides measurable results for a healthier lifestyle. Our goal is to maximize opportunities by connecting participants to accessible telehealth services at every step of their recovery journey and increase social support systems.

Describe the mission of your organization.

Our service mission is threefold: To create environments promoting recovery, personal responsibility, and mutual self help; To help communities prevent and reduce alcohol, other drug, and mental health related problems through positive social change, and; To share research and knowledge through training, consultation, and educational initiatives.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need to increase accessibility to services through technology for vulnerable populations such as those with mental health conditions and Substance Use Disorders (SUD). In a survey of all participants throughout our treatment programs, we found that only 22% had access to devices compatible with telehealth and video-conferencing. This is extremely concerning as disruption to treatment services and social isolation can be devastating for people in recovery. In a recent study conducted by Hulsey, Mellis, and Kelly (2020), 34% of 1079 respondents reported that they experienced accessibility problems in treatment and recovery support, and 20% reported increased substance use due to COVID-19. Video chatting and telehealth have become a lifeline to many, but disparities in technology access prevents many from getting the supports they need to maintain their recovery.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The purpose would be to improve the capacity of the organization to provide telehealth services to program participants, as well as help participants connect to recovery support groups and families while in treatment. In order to increase the telehealth capacity, a technology assessment needs to be conducted and upgrades are necessary to the current system. Telehealth provides an opportunity to keep participants engaged especially in times of crises, as well as during the normal course of business and the use of video-chat has become common practice for people to connect with social supports. One of the biggest barriers is not having the devices with the capabilities to connect due to either lack of data plan, limited data plan, or no internet connection. Telehealth is bound to stay even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over and we return to a new normal in our lives. Telehealth made it convenient for many to see doctors virtually, skip waiting rooms, and stay safe while receiving services. Many support groups have expanded their access by creating virtual rooms for people to join. This initiative would improve technology capacity and provide tablets to program participants to use while in treatment. Technology that most people often take for granted is a luxury that many others cannot afford and exacerbates existing disparities in health, education, and income.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The vision for success for this project is to increase accessibility to our programs through telehealth to improve engagement, recovery, and wellness for those suffering from mental health issues and SUD. These individuals face an increased risk of physical and psychological consequences that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic (Cullen, et al., 2020). The initiative will diminish and prevent the long-term effects of the pandemic on this vulnerable population by improving engagement, recovery, and wellness. Studies show that treatment delivered through telehealth is as effective as in-person sessions, has higher satisfaction rates, and improves retention rates (Lin, et al., 2019). The success of this initiative will advance recovery and treatment while reducing the economic burden the county faces due to untreated SUD. Achieving sustainable recovery for participants will improve productivity and the quality of life for Los Angeles (LAC Department of Public Health, 2020).

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

This is an early stage project to increase organizational telehealth capacity. Objectives: a. Conduct technology assessment. b. Obtain 500 tablets to provide program participants with a device that can utilize telehealth services via licensed HIPAA compliant platform. c. Train all staff and program participants on the proper use, privacy protocols, and telehealth etiquette. Outcomes: a. Reduce disruptions in service, maintain engagement, and increase accessibility through building telehealth capacity. b. Increase social connection of program participants to families, friends, support groups, fellowships in recovery, and 12-step sponsors. Measures: a. Reducing disruptions in service will be measured by sign-in sheets, and Telehealth Capacity Questionnaire. b. Engagement will be measured by number of participants who stay at least 30-days in treatment and Telehealth Capacity Questionnaire. c. Connection will be measured by pre and post-test Telehealth Capacity Questionnaire results.

Which of the live metrics will you impact?​

  • Healthcare access
  • Access to mental health services

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT