In Attendance: Chief Doug Fuchs; Selectmen Leon Karvelis; Rosalind Kopfstein, Mary Dale Lancaster, Chair;
I. Minutes of 10/2/14 were approved as submitted. Motion by Doug Fuchs to approve, seconded by Leon Karvelis, and passed unanimously.
II. Updates from Committee Members
A. Leon presented financial information from the town budget.
Each year the town contributes $1,000 to the Northwest Regional Mental Health Association; $375 to the Danbury Regional Children’s Center; $1890 to the Women’s Center serving Greater Danbury; $750 to Regional Hospice; $750 to the Association of Religious Communities.
The town provides an EAP (employee assistance benefits) benefit for Town employees at an annual cost of $1900.
B. Chief Fuchs will prepare a report on the number of mental health and domestic violence incidents occurring in town
C. Gail Schiron will provide details of the number of individuals receiving help from Social Services.
III. Presentation by Elizabeth Jorgensen from the Redding-Easton Coalition, and Insight Counseling. Elizabeth provided an in-depth analysis of major issues concerning drug abuse among teens, the lack of resources in our area, the problems associated with obtaining mental health coverage for in-patient and out patient counseling, and hospital space specifically to treat teens and young adults. She reported on the genetic predisposition to drug abuse. Federal laws concerning the financial obligations of health insurance for patients was discussed from an historical and practical point of view.
In discussing older teens who have graduated from high school with no direction, Liz noted that no safety net exists. While in high school, the school system has some authority to manage and refer but not after graduation. Liz reported that the first intense use of drugs in young teens can lead to severe mental health problems. In general, teens and young adults respond well to treatment only if they can obtain admission to an appropriate program. Many programs do have waiting lists. There are not enough trained professionals in our community who can provide treatment. Ideally, Liz would like Redding to hire an LCSW who would be shared with Easton so teen, young adults and their families have a critical resource available.
IV. New Business: The task force will pull together information collected in December in order to be prepared to present a report to the Selectmen in January in preparation for the budget process.
V. Next Meeting – Thursday, November 6, 2014 – Janine Sullivan from the Northwest Regional Mental Health Board
VI. Future Meeting Dates are: 11/6/14; 12/4/14; 12/11/14 in Town Hall at 2 p.m.
VII. The meeting adjourned at 3: 30 p.m.
Minutes Submitted by Rosalind Kopfstein