The 36th Annual Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health will take place Saturday, April 12th, 8:30-11:30am at the UNC William and Ida Friday Center, 100 Friday Center Dr., Chapel Hill. This year’s event is designed as a Town Hall Forum with a panel comprised of Republican and Democratic members of the NC General Assembly and will be moderated by David Crabtree, WRAL-TV news anchor and Rose Hoban, Editor of NC Health News. Panel members include Sen. Mike Woodard (D-Durham, Caswell), Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange), Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph) and Sen. Floyd Haskell (R-Cabarrus, Union). Rep. Nelson Dollar will present the keynote address. Linda McDonough, Director of Just Right Academy and parent raising a child with serious mental health issues will speak from the family and consumer perspective.
Legislators and local elected officials from the 29 counties encompassing the two neighboring Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO) of Alliance Behavioral Healthcare and Cardinal Innovations have been invited to attend and discuss important issues around mental health with family and consumer members, as well as professional treatment providers, educators and other interested community members.
Theme for this year’s event is “Access to Mental Healthcare: Options for All.” A full breakfast buffet is offered free of charge, however, a $15 donation per person is suggested to help organizers offset expenses. Event sponsorships are still available and sponsor details are available by contacting Ben Staples at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 919-942-8083,ext. 1. Questions about registration are directed to Steve Bailey at email@example.com or call him at 919-245-0072. For all other information, email co-chairman Julie Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org, or co-chairman Dana Greenwood at email@example.com, or call Bailey at 919-942-8083, ext. 2.
Online registration is available at LEGISLATIVEBREAKFAST2014. Seating is limited to 400 registrants and early registration is advisable. Walk-in attendees cannot be guaranteed seating. Registration deadline is April 6th or when seating capacity is reached, whichever comes first.
Organizing committee co-sponsors include representatives from Mental Health America of the Triangle, Josh’s Hope Foundation, NAMI Durham, NAMI Orange, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, Caramore Community, Alberta Professional Services, Club Nova and community members at large.
It’s Sleep Awareness Week™! Sleep is as important as diet and exercise for good health. Without sleep, we tend to exercise less, eat more, and function at less than our best. The National Sleep Foundation sponsors Sleep Awareness Week and NAMI North Carolina is helping to spread the word!
This year, the National Sleep Foundation has released results from the 2014 Sleep in America poll. It’s results might surprise you! Check out the results on their website here.
Preventing, treating, and supporting recovery from behavioral health problems is essential for communities to be healthy, safe, and successful. Mayors and municipal leaders have an important role in providing leadership and support for their community’s behavioral health needs.
To address these needs, SAMHSA has released “Mayors’ Resource Guide on Behavioral Health Issues.” The guide helps ensure that mayors and municipal leaders have the information they need to address the behavioral health needs of their community’s children, adults, and families. They can do this by supporting the prevention and treatment of mental illness and recovery from mental illness.
Unaddressed behavioral health problems may have a negative effect on the economy of cities, towns, and counties. Related costs may increase across systems, including health care, emergency and social services, special education, services for homelessness, law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and health insurance for municipal employees. In addition, behavioral health problems may impact the productivity of local businesses and their health care costs, impede the ability of children and youth to succeed in school, and lead to family and community disruption.
The “National Behavioral Health Barometer” (Barometer) from SAMHSA provides data about key indicators of behavioral health problems including rates of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, underage drinking, and the percentages of those who seek treatment for these disorders. The Barometer shows these data at the national level, and for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Barometer indicates that the behavioral health of our Nation is improving in some areas. For example, the rate of prescription pain reliever abuse has fallen for both children ages 12–17 and adults ages 18–25 from 2007 to 2011 (9.2 percent to 8.7 percent and 12.0 percent to 9.8 percent, respectively).
“The Barometer is a dynamic new tool providing important insight into the ‘real world’ implications of behavioral health issues in communities across our Nation,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “Unlike many behavioral health reports, its focus is not only on what is going wrong in terms of behavioral health, but what is improving and how communities might build on that progress.”
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is currently presenting a framework to reform the N.C. Medicaid program to the Medicaid Reform Advisory Group. This new framework is based on feedback from the two previous Medicaid Reform Advisory Group meetings, and from traveling to meet with stakeholders across the state. The framework takes the form of five recommendations to create a Medicaid system that rewards healthy outcomes:
- Recommendation 1: North Carolina Medicaid services for physical health will be coordinated through accountable care organizations (ACOs) that share savings and losses with the state and are responsible for equity.
- Recommendation 2: ACOs’ coverage of the population and financial accountability will rise progressively; DHHS will benchmark progress.
Mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities and substance abuse services
- Recommendation 3: Enhance the state’s Medicaid mental health, intellectual/developmental disability and substance abuse service delivery system.
Long-term services and supports (LTSS)
- Recommendation 4: Streamline and strengthen case management for long-term services and supports.
- Recommendation 5: Shape the ultimate direction of LTSS.
For recommendation details, click here.
For the press release, click here.
A new statewide training program to help people who work with youth recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions is the result of some good work on the part of N.C. DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and Gov. Pat McCrory. But there is still much work to be done in providing treatment for those who suffer from mental illness.
Wos on Friday recognized the first group of 32 instructors under the state’s Youth Mental Health First Aid program. The group will train other adults in 95 counties who regularly deal with young people, according to a DHHS news release. The program is a positive step that appears to be in direct response to nationwide school safety awareness issues that intensified following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in which a mentally ill young man fatally shot 20 school children and six adults.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid program is part of the governor’s N.C. Center for Safer Schools, which sponsored a series of public forums on school safety.
Deby Dihoff, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness – North Carolina, touched on the need for more public awareness of mental health issues during an interview last October with the liberal public policy think tank, N.C. Policy Watch.
“I think one of the biggest mistakes that we make is to not have the regular response that we would have to somebody who has a heart attack, in the emergency room, as when someone has a mental health crisis,” Dihoff said. “Our follow-up care is really pretty abysmal.”
As the former director of Pitt County Mental Health, Dihoff has among her experiences a 2006 tragedy involving a man with a bipolar disorder who was shot to death by Greenville police after leading them on a car chase. That incident led to more and better training programs for police in identifying and dealing with people experiencing a mental health crisis.
Identifying mental health problems as a public safety issue, of course, is only part of what is needed. As Dihoff said in October, follow-up care is critical, too.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid program is a positive step, to be sure. It will be a fully successful one when those identified through the program can count on receiving thorough and effective mental health services in North Carolina.
This was first published in the Greenville Daily Reflector on 2/24/2014.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Research Prioritization Task Force has released the finalized document—A Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention: An Action Plan to Save Lives—and it is now available for download online. You can access it by visiting www.suicide-research-agenda.org.
The Agenda outlines 30 research pathways that could help decrease the number of both suicide attempts and deaths in the United States. In addition to input from a Stakeholder Survey, the Agenda also was developed based on a literature review, portfolio analysis, mapping of the burden of suicide, and input from over 70 researchers in the field who examined what research areas show the most promise in reducing the suicide rates in the U.S.
The goal is for this Agenda to be used by funding organizations to help guide them in their funding decisions, as well as the researchers themselves regarding the types of research they conduct in the future. And we encourage family members, policymakers, and other interested individuals to use the Agenda to help advocate for the field of suicide prevention research.
The World Health Organization (WHO) created a video for World Mental Health Day that teaches about depression. Enjoy the striking illustrations while learning more about recognizing and treating depression.
A link to the video can be found here.
“Nowhere to Go” is a 60 Minutes segment, which aired on Jan. 26, 2014, featuring stories of youth facing mental illness. Watch the video below or click this link to read the full story and get special content not aired during the segment.
Check out this great article in the INDYweek “Special Issue: Citizen’s Award” about one of NC’s recovery advocates,
Thava Mahadevan of The Farm at Penny Lane.