Advocacy E-News February 20, 2015
February 20, 2015
DMHAS ANNOUNCES FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR IOC PROGRAMS
The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) has published a Notice of Availability of Grant Funds for Involuntary Outpatient Commitment Programs for Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties. According to DMHAS there is a cohort of consumers who are not willing to use mental health services voluntarily. When these consumers exhibit dangerousness to self, other or property by reason of a mental illness, it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the safety of the consumers and the public. A maximum of five (5) awards will be made through this RFP and no more than $300,000 will be awarded per county.
NJ’S HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSIONER VELEZ STEPPING DOWN
One of longest-serving members of Gov. Chris Christie’s Cabinet, Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez, is leaving state government. The department’s programs affect roughly one of every eight state residents. Among the changes Velez oversaw were the closure of one state psychiatric hospital and two developmental centers. Despite turmoil, Velez has enjoyed an amiable relationship with legislators and the respect of professionals in the social services field. She grew up in a trailer park in Moonachie, reliant on some of the public assistance programs she now oversees, and often reflected on how her life inspired her work.
PRESIDENT’S PLAN TO ADDRESS OUR NATION’S MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS
President Obama’s recently proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget provides the nation with an unprecedented opportunity to address America’s urgent behavioral health needs. The FY 2016 Budget proposes improvements to the mental health system by expanding treatment for serious mental illness (SMI) and by reaching people in crisis when they need help the most. Many of the president’s proposals in this area are focused within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Three-quarters of SAMHSA’s mental health budget is dedicated to serving people with SMI.
THE MODERN ASYLUM
The goals of maximizing personal autonomy and civil liberties for the mentally ill are admirable.
But as a result, my patients with chronic psychotic illnesses cycle between emergency hospitalizations and inadequate outpatient care. They are treated by community mental health centers whose overburdened psychiatrists may see even the sickest patients for only 20 minutes every three months. Many patients struggle with homelessness. Many are incarcerated. We can’t continue to abandon our most vulnerable citizens in the name of autonomy.
CRISIS INTERVENTION TRAINING FOR POLICE IS A STATEWIDE GOAL
Eleven counties down and ten more to go, officials aim bring law enforcement crisis intervention training (CIT) program statewide. Crisis Intervention Team Center for Excellence provides law enforcement with in-depth mental health knowledge and crisis resolution skills, all while bridging the gap between police and psychiatric care. Known as the “Memphis Model” of pre-arrest jail diversion for those in a mental illness crisis, the program is a 40-hour training session for officers, EMTs and other first responders.