News (Noticias)

Introducing the Denver START Program


Members of the Denver START team pose with Dr. Joan Beasely, the creator of the START model
Members of the Denver START team pose with Dr. Joan Beasely, the creator of the START model

We are pleased to announce the launch of Denver START, a new RMHS crisis mental health program for Denver residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD).


Oftentimes, children and adults with I/DD experience misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed mental health or behavioral challenges. The START model is a proven method for helping those individuals receive the crisis treatment they need.


Services that the START team provide include:

  • 24hr/7day crisis prevention and intervention

  • Access to START certified team members with unique experience in the mental health aspects of I/DD

  • Person and family-centered approach

  • Cultural humility and competency

  • Coordinated care and assistance for the person supported, their families, and their service providers

The National START Model


START, which stands for Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources and Treatment, is new to Denver but is a nationally-recognized model with a rich history of success. The START model is designed as a lifespan service for individuals, supporting them through crisis prevention and intervention.


The model is community driven to ensure an individual is being supported holistically through all services and supports that are available to them.


Created in 1988 by Dr. Joan B. Beasley, START has evolved into a national system used by various cities and has seen significant success in providing mental health care. You can learn more about the national model here.


RMHS is grateful to work with the National Start Services team, who provided guidance, training, and support through the creation of this new program.


How to Make a Referral


Referrals for the Denver START program can be submitted by the person seeking services, their care givers, family members, or a medical provider. You can learn more about making a referral on our website.


Denver START Launch Event


Local community members joined the Denver START team at an event on Sept 22. to celebrate the new program, learn more, and hear from the founder of START, Dr. Joan B. Beasely. Beasely presented on the START model and gave insight into what to expect from the Denver START team.


According to Dr. Beasely, her work was driven by the significant lack of mental health diagnosis in the I/DD community.


"We have to remind ourselves that there is a lot of evidence that people are misdiagnosed - there are these disparities in our communities" Dr. Beasely said. "And this gap has led, most often, to despair."


Through Denver START, the goal is to reach these people and help them receive the right services they need. For the past few months, Denver START has implemented a soft-launch, slowly including people in the program to prepare for their official start. And now, at the official program launch, according to Denver START director, Brian Tallant, the START staff has become very close and is ready for what lies ahead.


"We have come together in a way that is truly inspirational for me." Tallant said.


We are so thankful to everyone who came to support the launch of Denver START, and look forward to serving Denver residents through the innovative and effective START model.


Funding through Denver Human Services


In 2021, RMHS engaged in a competitive contract selection process through Denver Human Services (DHS), ultimately winning the contract to develop a local START program. Denver START is funded by local taxpayer dollars through DHS’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Equitable Access to Services (IDDEAS) program.