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The Specialized Planning, Options to Transition Team, or SPOTT, was designed to help provide a person-centered, recovery-oriented system of care for all Mississippians in need of services. Specifically, it has been developed to support people who have required treatment in inpatient programs on multiple occasions, linking them with additional services in the community to help them remain successful in their recovery.

SPOTT grew out of services offered through The Arc of Mississippi, and was associated with services for intellectual and developmental disabilities, but has since grown to include mental health services. Members of the SPOTT team come from a variety of backgrounds and agencies, including private providers and state agencies such as the Division of Medicaid, Department of Human Services, and Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Matt Nalker, Executive Director of The Arc of Mississippi, said the team is a true collaboration. “Our main goal is to help people with a history of recidivism,” Nalker said. “We don’t silo people or categorize people. This is really about their need for support, wherever those referrals come from.”

Many referrals come from calls made by family members to the DMH Helpline in the Office of Consumer Support (OCS), but referrals also come to OCS from private providers, local hospitals, or other concerned citizens. Group members meet every two weeks to oversee the cases that have been referred. Members are committed to providing help when they can, but are also in a position to immediately request services
from the other team members.

There are many success stories associated with SPOTT, including a young man who had been verbally abused. He had been diagnosed with a mental illness, had problems with substance use, and has had several acute hospitalizations. SPOTT referred this person to services through a local Community Mental Health Center (CMHC), where a change in location was eventually needed to better serve him. SPOTT connected him with Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (PSR) and therapeutic services through a local CMHC in another area of the state. He received assistance with transportation to the local CMHC, where he is successfully living independently with limited support. 


“SPOTT has been the biggest challenge I have ever been a part of, but it has also been the most rewarding,” said Veronica Vaughn, DMH Director of OCS/Community Placement. “It is truly following our mission of helping one person at a time and also assists us in identifying where gaps are in the public mental health system related to access to care. It also gives people a voice and makes the person an integral part of their recovery plan.”

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