The Center will focus attention on a few key areas, including:
Quality, with a focus on provider accountability, outcomes, and the need to set clear and achievable standards that all providers can adopt and use.
Innovation, with a focus on cutting-edge technology, ongoing research, and leveraging the promise of big data.
Equity, with a redoubling of efforts to end disparities, fully implement parity, and support justice system reforms.
Integration, with an emphasis on caring for the whole person, and ensuring that all Americans can get a “checkup from the neck up.”
The announcement of the Center comes as 71% of Americans are calling for “significant “ or “radical” changes in the way mental health and addiction are treated. In addition, a majority of survey respondents highlighted two key areas of focus for reform: “Improving quality of care for people with mental health conditions” and “making sure people with mental health conditions have access to the care they need regardless of where they live, their ethnicity, or their background.”
I am happy to share that we have our own “call to action” in the State of Oregon with the key legislative initiative, (click on this highlighted link)“Mental Health: Can’t we do better?” At my local level, the Depoe Bay, Oregon City Council included mental health as a new business item in the agenda on February 3rd, which included input from the community and highly supportive discussion by the council. As city councilor, I have been tasked to follow through with a grass roots local work group to start the conversation and begin developing ideas and solutions to improve access to mental health first aid and overall care.
Our first “grass roots” local work group meeting is scheduled for Monday February 16, 2014. I am planning to keep the community posted on our progress in working with local, county, and state resources in meeting mental health care goals and spirit of a national “call to action.” Teamwork and community collaboration are key to our success!
“Just as President Kennedy rallied the nation to dream big and set audacious goals 50 years ago, The Kennedy Forum seeks to set a new standard for the future of health care in the United States.
Our mission is big, and the stakes are clear. We seek to unite the health care system, and rally the mental health community around a common set of principles: Fully implement the 2008 parity law, bring business leaders and government agencies together to eliminate issues of stigma, work with providers to guarantee equal access to care, ensure that policymakers have the tools they need to craft better policy, and give consumers a way to understand their rights.”
Mental Health is one of the State of Oregon’s key legislative initiatives for 2015. League of Oregon Cities Local Focus (click this site) magazine for December 2014 is dedicated to mental health…”can’t we do better?” On the agenda for our City of Depoe Bay Council Meeting on February 3rd is Mental Health…to start this important conversation in our rural community on the Central Oregon Coast. Communities everywhere are getting on the same page now and taking action…to find better ways to meet mental health challenges and improve services at the local level. Following is a summary of the key issues we are addressing in our communities…
December 2014On the Cover…Mental Health: Can’t we do better?
It’s Time to Bend the Trend
Forest Grove – Mental Health Crisis Straining Police Resources
Wallowa County – Isolation Impedes Proper Response, Care
Portland and Project Respond: A 22-Year Partnership
Boardman – Crisis Care in a Small Community
Bend – Trying to Keep Pace in Deschutes County
Jail Diversion: Better for Cities, Better for Counties, Better for Patients
Mental Health Services: How We Can Do More
Please take the time to catch up on the State of Mental Health in America from the Kennedy Forum webcast. Take a look at the Local Focus December 2014 magazine and learn more about specific challenges and opportunities for change in Oregon. I will be reporting on the progress we are making in Depoe Bay, Oregon going forward.
Mental Health will be a high priority for me as city councilor during my 4 year term. Our community will begin to seriously assess its needs and begin to collaborate with public private partnerships along with federal, state, and country resources to build a stronger foundation for mental health crisis treatment and referral services. Join your neighbors in supporting a stronger Mental Health agenda for your community. We can do better!
Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1… Click on the highlighted text for my author page…
“Mental Health First Aid skills can be applied anytime, anywhere, and to anyone in distress, be it a brother officer exhibiting symptoms of PTSD, an unemployed friend displaying signs of severe depression, or a teenage family member presenting evidence of…“
“Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses.”
The mental health awareness campaign in America is really taking hold! A “first aid” program is now available to communities everywhere. I know this program is critically important in my rural community on the Oregon Central Coast. All schools, non-profits, government agencies, public private partnerships, and citizens everywhere should learn about mental health first aid. The invisible nature of mental health challenges, including moral injury and PTSD, make it even more challenging to perform first aid because we are often unable to see or understand the symptoms. Building more understanding of the signs of mental illness will help save lives! Early and on-going treatment is very critical in finding a path to healing. Please take the time to learn about the mental health first aid program in your community, and get the word out by sharing this blog post on your social media network.