The START Model

The START program model was implemented in 1988 by Dr. Joan B. Beasley and her team to provide community-based crisis intervention for individuals with IDD and mental health needs. The model is evidence-informed and utilizes a national database. It is a person-centered, solutions-focused approach that employs positive psychology and other evidence-based practices.  

START is a comprehensive model of service supports that optimizes independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs. In the 2002 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on mental health disparities for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities, START was cited as a model program. In 2016 START was discussed as a best practice at a Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity planned by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

In order to be a certified START program, the team must be trained, participate in data collection and reporting, and effectively employ the methods of the START model.

To learn more about START, watch this START Overview presentation by Dr. Joan B. Beasley and the START Film Documentary "Now We Have Hope: The Strength of the START Community".


Family Testimonial

"Thanks again for advocating on behalf of Mary. It is difficult for us to convey how deeply humbled and grateful we are by your advocacy and action on behalf of Mary and others who have no voice in our society.  The willingness to allocate significant and scarce resources is appreciated by this family on behalf of our daughter whose diagnosis creates so many difficulties in her life."

- Parents of individual receiving START Services in Iowa

Featured Video

Building Community Through Storytelling

The 2021 START Talks feature six 10-minute stories from a diverse group of leaders representing professionals, people with lived experience, and family members. 

Watch the 2021 START Talks