50 Years Ago, a Start to the Mental Health Conversation; 50 Years Later, Still Further to Go
Even being homeless costs the community. Then, there are the tragedies: mentally ill people who, unmedicated and alone, devastate communities with violent acts. What can we do? We can save lives, those with mental illness as well as the possible victims of acts of violence – which are rare, but always devastating. We can drive down costs through consistent care instead of emergency care and prison-based care. We can invest in Assisted Outpatient Treatment and Assertive Community Treatment, recognizing that “treatment before tragedy” saves lives.
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How can Milwaukee County’s broken mental health system be fixed?
Momentum and roadblocks: The County Board recently approved joining the federal program but only after administrators pledged not to enroll more than 192 in the first year. The board would not approve more because of fears the county wouldn’t be able to pay its portion of the bill. At that pace, it would take more than 15 years to bring everyone eligible into the program. Who to contact P: 414-278-4211 4. Get politicians out of the mental health care deliverybusiness The situation: Elected officials responsible for mental health care in Milwaukee County have rejected recommendations and ignored calls for reform for 40 years, even as federal inspectors have repeatedly cited the county for placing patients in “immediate jeopardy.” In most states, mental health services are coordinated by state administrators.
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In the last year, Angela has been part of an innovative concept called an integrated health home at her CMHC. While the word “home” may invoke a physical dwelling, an integrated health home is a holistic approach to care — often virtual — that addresses the need for support, coordination, and access to care to ensure the member truly has the chance to live a healthier life. Behavioral and physical health care are coordinated, and often located in the same facility, with additional supports available to those who need them. At her first appointment, Angela’s blood pressure and blood sugar were high.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-m-cutler-md-ms-facp/mental-health_b_4169809.html