In Attendance: Chief Doug Fuchs; Selectmen Leon Karvelis; Rosalind Kopfstein, Mary Dale Lancaster, Chair; Gail Schiron – Human Services; Community participant Alice Smith.
I. The meeting was called to order at 2: 15 p.m. by Chair Mary Dale Lancaster
II. Minutes of November 6, 2014 approved. Motion by Leon Karvelis to approve as written, seconded by Gail Schiron, passed unanimously.
III. Reports from Task Force Members
A. Gail Schiron – Department of Social Services presented statistics showing the number and types of calls and requests for behavioral health for 2012 through the current month. She is a referral source and follows up to see if the resident received he needed assistance. Most times, referrals are made to the residents own physician or Danbury Hospital for treatment sources.
Current issues include grandparents caring for grandchildren and not understanding the stress put upon them. Single mothers who are struggling financially with teenage children are another key community problem. Some families do not seek help from school counselors because of the stigma of labeling children early in their life. Gail has noted that the amount of drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise in the community.
The role of the municipal agent is primarily resource assistance. Other towns such as Wilton and Ridgefield have LCSW’ on staff to handle behavioral health concerns. The School Resource Officers (SRO’s) also help out school social workers to help manage students experiencing emotional problems.
B. Rosalind Kopfstein – Issues of the Elderly
Rosalind identified major issues concerning accessing and paying for mental health services. First, many seniors refuse to acknowledge that they are experiencing a mental health problem and refuse to access any assistance. They do not want to be stigmatized as someone needing help and feel ashamed that they are no longer independent. Second, where to find help is not easily accessible. Most seniors ask their physicians who may have the right professionals identified. Thirdly, seniors may refuse to pay or cannot afford the co-pay for mental health services. Fourthly, many counselors are not Medicare -certified and only accept private pay for counseling. Seniors may not have transportation available and the Redding van is quite booked for appointments.
Community resources available include grief and bereavement counseling groups in our area but none are in Redding.
C. Leon Karvelis: Easton – Redding Community Coalition
The meetings agenda focused on the Barlow prom. They have a funds available for suicide prevention – suggested that it be used to publicize suicide prevention hotlines. It was noted that a lockbox to keep prescriptions controlled was available for $30.00. Lastly, small grants have been awarded to local groups and this information should be coordinated to get the most benefit out of the funds.
D. Mary Dale reported about the meeting for the legislators held in Norwalk by the SWRMHB. Turning Point CT (turningptct.org) was recommended by several specialists at that forum as a particularly useful site for teens and young adults.
Tasks for our January meeting: Leon will contact John Shaban. Ros will contact Dan Carter, Mary Dale will contact Toni Boucher to confirm the Tuesday, January 6, 2015 (not the 8th) meeting date.
Tasks for our December 11th meeting: Mary Dale also asked each member to develop our own specific recommendations that the Task Force will be proposing to the selectmen in the new year.
VI. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, December 11th at 2 pm. We will begin to discuss suggestions to submit to the Board of Selectmen.
VII. The meeting adjourned at 3: 40 p.m.
Minutes Submitted by Rosalind Kopfstein