Tag Archives: Local community mental health resources

State of the Union in Mental Health and Addiction Live Webcast…and local initiatives…

Kennedy Forum…State of the Union in Mental Health & Addiction…  Click on the highlighted text

“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.”

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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…We can do more in rural communities!

Dec2014LocFoc

League of Oregon Cities…Local Focus, December 2014

 

“Mental Health…Can’t we do better?”  League of Oregon Cities, Local Focus December 2014…Quote from page 14, It’s Time to Bend the Trend by Cherryl Ramirez

Contrary to those with other chronic conditions like diabetes
and heart disease, people with chronic mental health and substance
use disorders have been criminalized. The difference is,
in part, that people with untreated mental illness may act in
ways that seem frightening or threatening to the general public.
According to the National GAINS Technical Assistance
and Policy Analysis (TAPA) Center for jail diversion, “when
effective treatment is available, people with mental disorders
and without substance use problems present no greater risk to
the community than people in the general population.”

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This is my first posting as a newly elected Depoe Bay, Oregon, City Councilor.  It is fitting and timely to use the League of Oregon Cities Local Focus publication, entitled Mental Health, Can’t we do better?  as a reference.

I attended my first workshop in Manzanita, Oregon, this last week to receive training as a newly elected official.  The training was very valuable as I hit the ground running.  A big picture view of Oregon legislative priorities for 2015 was presented to help focus on the larger issues of our great State of Oregon, including mental health.

As a new Depoe Bay, Oregon City Councilor with a personal interest in mental health awareness. I am putting a special focus on this important topic during my term in office.  Following are some of the actions we are taking in Oregon and in local communities like Depoe Bay to do more in providing improved mental health services.

Quote from page 29 of the referenced LOC Local Focus…
 • Preventative mental health care in the form of “drop-in”
services should be available to all Oregonians regardless
of where they live.
The League believes that access to urgent care for mental
health will allow those suffering from an illness or condition
to be triaged and receive immediate treatment or
where appropriate, referrals for treatment. This will avert
unnecessary, unhealthful and sometimes tragic interactions
with law enforcement personnel.
• Proactive, mobile crisis intervention should be available
statewide.
The mobile crisis intervention approach has reduced
negative encounters between police and the mentally ill.
Resources should be provided so such services are available
throughout the state.
• Every police officer in the state of Oregon should have
access to training in how to respond to a mental health
crisis.
The state should provide public safety personnel with access
to instructions from mental health professionals that
would equip officers with skills to respond in a way that
de-escalates conflict and helps the affected individual and
their family receive appropriate care.
• The number of regional residential mental health facilities
should be expanded.
Jail should not be the only option to secure an individual
experiencing a mental health crisis. Safe and secure mental
health care beds will allow those in need to avoid jail,
which could worsen their condition.

It is an honor for me to serve the citizens of greater Depoe Bay, Oregon for the next 4 years.  As a rural community we have many challenges in community building and in sustaining the precious legacy of our town.  We are also focused on economic development and providing state of the art infrastructure utilities and services. 

In addition to my regular blog postings on the topic of Children and Families in Life After Trauma, I will be providing updates on more global mental health issues related to rural communities.  I am grateful for the support of my community of friends, followers, and family who read this blog.  Please share your comments at the end of this posting.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

 

 

“After husband’s tragic death, widow takes on PTSD” – Stars and Stripes

imageWidow

In this May 2, 2014 photo, family, friends and members of the military gather beside Kryn Miner’s casket after his funeral outside St. Lawrence Church in Essex, Vt. His widow Amy Miner, third from left, believes the Veterans Affairs health system must do more to help veterans who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning home. EMILY MCMANAMY, BURLINGTON FREE PRESS/AP

Widow takes on cause of PTSD awareness…

imageWidow2

In this May 12, 2014 photo, Amy Miner, of Essex, Vt., poses in Burlington, Vt., with an April 2013 photo of herself and husband Kryn Miner, an Army veteran who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and who was shot to death by one of their children in April after threatening to kill the family. Amy Miner believes the Veterans Affairs health system must do more to help veterans who struggle with PTSD after returning home. HOLLY RAMER/AP

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The story referenced in this blog post, is very real to me, and the tragedy can happen to any family living with the painful circumstances and toxic behavior connected with family dynamics in the privacy of home.   I write in my book about the constant fear and threat that can make loved ones feel trapped and in fear of their own lives.  Constant outbursts of anger and rage causing emotional and physical abuse have the potential of a life threatening action either as a suicide to end the pain, or the ultimate act of defense by a loved one to escape the nightmare of domestic violence.

We must do more in our communities at the local level to take ownership for helping veterans on their journey of healing in life after war.  In my view, the VA does not currently have the capacity to provide critical care or appropriate personal connection with veterans when they return home.  Veterans suffering from the painful symptoms of PTS feel lost when they return home.  If there is an unrealistic expectation of what the VA is supposed to do or not do, responsibility for caregiving in the local community can suffer.  The lack of speedy access to “tender loving care” and the ignorance of denial at home where our warriors live, puts lives at risk every day.  I know from my own childhood experience how scared we were as siblings observing my father’s frequent rages and angry outbursts.  We had no choice but to stay out of the line of fire as much as we could.  We couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get away from home to be with friends or in the safety of teachers at school.

If this tragic story, along with my own reflective comments, rings a bell in your own circumstance, or with someone else, do not hesitate to seek help from friends and neighbors, including local mental health resources.  Do not give up or wait for the VA to act.  The local community must take action as the primary caregivers of veterans who struggle adjusting to life following extended deployments in combat.  Don’t let your hero feel lost in the shuffle of a higher bureaucracy and alone at home suffering in silence not wanting to impose on friends, family, and local resources.  Our warriors protected us and risked their lives.  Now, we must do our part to care for them when they return home.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation, A Son’s Story

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author