BOSTON, April 25, 2018 – In recognition of World Autism Month, Beacon Health Options (Beacon), the nation’s premier behavioral health management company, is proud to share its short film, Michael. The film offers a window into the life of a 13-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other mental health conditions who benefits from the services managed by the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (CT BHP). Collaborating with Michael’s providers, his mother works tirelessly to give Michael a normal life while dealing with the challenges of his mental health conditions.
Michael is part of the longer documentary, Recovering Lives, which follows three people living with behavioral health conditions. The documentary was selected to screen at this year’s New Haven Documentary Film Festival and the New Jersey Recovery Film Festival, both on June 2, 2018.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children in the United States has ASD, representing a 119 percent increase since the year 2000.
“Michael is bright. He’s smart. He’s funny. He can do really, really well,” said Cheryl, Michael’s mother. “He can do wonderful things, and I want to just give him that opportunity. I want him to have a normal life.”
To help make this goal a reality, Michael has a Beacon care coordinator who connects him with the care he needs. Additionally, he has a peer specialist who educates and connects his mother to the tools and resources available in their community.
“We are proud to have a robust Peer Specialist program in Connecticut and throughout the company. All of Beacon’s peers and most of our care coordinators have lived experience with autism spectrum disorder,” said Beacon Health Options Director of Autism Services Jennifer Krom. “Research and our own experience show that peer specialists have a transformative effect on the members they serve. They both enhance the quality of life for individuals with ASD as well as improve engagement and satisfaction with services and supports.”
Recovering Lives was produced by Beacon, which administers behavioral health services for the CT BHP. Beacon thanks CT BHP participating partners: the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Connecticut Department of Social Services, as well as the nearly 6,000 behavioral health providers caring for Connecticut’s Medicaid population.