About Us

START Overview


The START Model

The START program model was implemented in 1988 by Dr. Joan 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 mental 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.

For more information about START programs across the nation, explore our map that outlines where START programs have been implemented.

The Center for START Services

The Center for START Services at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability/UCED is a national initiative that works to strengthen efficiencies and service outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and mental health needs in the community. The Center was established in 2009 at the IOD to provide technical support, clinical expertise, and training and consultation services that support the development of:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation of Services & Systems of Care (local and state)

  • A systems linkage approach to service provision

  • Expert Assessment & Clinical Support

  • Outcomes-Based Research & Evaluation

  • Short-Term Therapeutic Resources and Opportunities

  • Cross Systems Crisis Prevention & Intervention Planning

  • Family Support, Education & Outreach

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration

By supporting the development of the cornerstones of the START model as outlined above, START programs and their participants experience an array of benefits including:

  • Reduced use of emergency services and state facility/hospital stays

  • High rates of satisfaction by families and care recipients

  • Cost-effective service delivery

  • Increased community involvement and crisis expertise in communities

  • Strengthened linkages that enrich systems, increase resources, and fill in service gaps