The 1995 legislature passed legislation authorizing pilot projects that would result in systemic change in the delivery of mental health services for adults with serious and persistent mental illness.
In response to this legislation, members of the Grant County Local Advisory Council for mental health were key in persuading the Local Advisory Councils from Stevens, Traverse, and Pope Counties as well as administrative staff from all four counties to at least meet and discuss possibilities for system change in these four counties. This group of consumers, social services personnel, and vendors met through the summer and early fall of 1996. A facilitated process took place identifying strengths, problem areas, and strategies for change. The final plan submitted to the State resulted in the group receiving the designation of an Adult Mental Health Pilot Project. In February of 1997 the group received their first grant award of $12,000 to begin an aftercare nurse component in cooperation with the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center and a consumer training component. This funding was enhanced through a supplemental award of $115,000 on August 5, 1997.
On June 18, 1997, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners petitioned the project to join as a fifth county. The representatives from the four original counties approved this request.
The pilot project has now become the Adult Mental Health Initiative. Legislated stakeholders meet on a montly basis in a process appropriately named CONVERSATIONS. This group is composed of consumers, family members, county staff, vendors, and State Operated Services.