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Homelink and Duke University have partnered up to identify and improve efforts to transition adults with serious mental illness to independent living. Living independently in the community requires stable housing. Obtaining and maintaining stable housing requires mastery of many activities of daily living necessary for successful home management. Individuals with severe mental illness often experience significant cognitive and sensory processing challenges that prevent them from successfully completing activities of daily living necessary for maintaining a home.

This partnership began in response to the U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreement with the state of North Carolina for failing to provide mental health services in the least restrictive environment as required by the U.S. Supreme Court decision Olmstead v. L.C.

Supporting the activities of daily living of adults with severe mental illness should be a high priority in policy change. However, there is no existing evidence-based tool to screen adults in this community for challenges with these activities which are needed to identify intervention targets relevant to their independent living and community integration. There is an urgent need to develop a living-skills screen so community mental health providers across the state can quickly identify which supports are needed for their clients. Further, there is a gap in resources to help stakeholders support the functional independence and sensory health of adults with severe mental illness.

Project Description

The project team will partner with adults with severe mental illness (SMI), caregivers and community mental health providers to develop interventions and materials that support and ultimately improve the sensory health and community integration of adults with SMI.

Team members will engage in collaborative, participatory research to identify and understand the living skill and sensory health needs of adults with SMI. They will then work together to develop and disseminate resources (e.g., website, podcasts, videos) to stakeholders to support the sensory health and independent living skills of adults with SMI in the community. They will also develop a feasible and acceptable living skills screen for community behavioral health providers and modify the screen according to stakeholder feedback.

Anticipated Outputs

Activities of daily life screen; videos; podcasts; peer-reviewed manuscript; conference presentations

Project Team

Team Leaders

  • Antoine Bailliard, School of Medicine-Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University
  • MaryBeth Gallagher, School of Medicine-Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University

Community Team Members

  • Matt Ballard, Farm at Penny Lane – UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health
  • Thava Mahadevan, Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health
  • Paul Marvin, HomeLink – UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health


Summer 2024 – Summer 2025

  • Summer 2024 (optional): Seek IRB approval; identify and recruit working group participants
  • Fall 2024: Hold weekly meetings; start focus groups; analyze data; develop screen
  • Spring 2025: Continue to develop screen; start working groups; obtain feedback; refine screen; develop media and resources
  • Summer 2025 (optional): Produce and post developed media; draft manuscript

Original story content published by Duke University | Bass Connections