Mental Health Task Force Town of Redding
Minutes – November 6, 2014
In Attendance: Selectmen Leon Karvelis; Rosalind Kopfstein, Gail Schiron, Mary Dale Lancaster, Chair.
I. Minutes of 10/23/14 were approved as submitted. Motion by Leon Karvelis, seconded by Mary Dale Lancaster, and passed unanimously.
II. Presentation by Janine Sullivan-Wiley, Executive Director of the Northwest Regional Mental Health Board (NWMHB)
Janine spoke about the tasks and roles of the NWMHB in terms of mandate and tasks. The Board completes community needs assessments; the representatives from each town (Gail Schiron from Redding) bring community issues to be discussed; the Board advocates for legislative initiatives and changes concerning mental health priorities; and Janine meets regularly with the Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).
Janine explained that many upper income towns pretend mental health problems do not exist and experience “Affluenza”, where residents assume all is well because of no poverty and ample access to resources. Unfortunately, there are many concerns, especially for teens and young adults experimenting with alcohol and drugs, particularly prescription drug abuse. There are many who have dual diagnosis, which means mental illness combined substance abuse.
We discussed how to reduce risks for teens learning that teens start abusing drugs or alcohol slowly and then gradually increase to an abusive level. Some reach the level of using heroin, which is highly addictive.
Do School nurses have Narcon available or do they call the Redding police to administer it? Should other youth programs have Narcon available including the Boys and Girls Club, and Park and Rec?
Has anyone in the Redding Police force trained in the Crisis Mental Health CIT training program? Grant funds are available from DMHAS for staff expenses?
We discussed the stigma and embarrassment of seeking mental health assistance. Janine thought that self-disclosure in newspaper articles would be one way to normalize the experience of understanding how mental health problems can be helped. Most critical issue is to seek help ASAP. Typically the first step of help seeking is to consult a physician who can diagnose and refer only if a person reports a problem. Next, locate your preferred provider identified by your health insurance.
Another concern is funding for non-profits mental health agencies that do not have adequate funding to supply needed services. For hospitals, behavioral health is not reimbursed at a high rate and hospitals lose money on supplying these critical services.
III. Updates from Committee Members
a. Leon will learn how the EAP system works for Redding employees.
b. For the December meeting Rosalind and Gail will present on services for seniors and on the number of services provided to town residents.
IV. New Business: The Task Force will be creating a list of specific recommendations for Reddingites and the Town Selectmen.
V. Next Meeting – Thursday, December 4, 2014 – Mental Health services for seniors will be discussed.
VI. Future Meeting Dates are: 12/11/14 in Town Hall at 2 p.m.
VII. The meeting adjourned at 3: 30 p.m.
Minutes Submitted by Rosalind Kopfstein