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The REAL referral program works closely with law enforcement officials, community corrections officers and other local human service providers to offer diversion from higher levels of care and to provide a recovery model form of community support with the help of trained Peer Specialists.

When a referral is made to the REAL program Peer Specialists begin the process of contacting the person whom was referred. Individuals are asked if they would like to participate in the program. If a person decides to participate, the individual can expect a well-trained peer to work mutually with and support them as they move towards recovery. The information gathered is used to discover what services would be most effective and If needed the individual will receive help in accessing programs or services they want to receive. (examples: housing issues, personal relationships, etc.) On going contact is made with the individual to help ensure their concerns and needs were met and to continue support if wanted.

The first referral for the program was received in September 2011. During the program’s eight and a half years in operation almost 4000 referrals have been made by over 300 separate officers. Current program data shows evidence of its effectiveness in outreach, community support, and improved quality of life for those people facing difficulty with mental health concerns.

During the spring of 2015 the Mental Health Association of Nebraska and the REAL Referral Program began to collaborate with the state of Nebraska’s Corrections Systems to offer the same types of supports to individuals whom have recently been freed from incarceration at one of the state’s facilities. Follow-up contact is made with program participants to help them successfully transition back into the community.

The program is only possible through strong partnership with a progressive police force, an evolving correction systems and funding from the City of Lincoln, the Community Health Endowment and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services concerned with finding new more effective ways of serving those in need. All peers on the REAL team receive ongoing training including the Intentional Peer Support (IPS) model and facilitating the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).

Chad Magdanz

R.E.A.L. Referral Program Coordinator 

For more information please call us at (402) 441-4372  and we would be glad to assist you.

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