N&O considers mental health

There's a joke in that headline somewhere, but the subject isn't funny in the slightest. And today's lead editorial in the N&O joins the rising chorus of voices calling for mental health reform. Good on 'em.

North Carolina's mental health system exists to serve fragile people with stubborn, often complicated illnesses. Helping those sufferers isn't cheap, and the costs are driven up even further when help for people with developmental disabilities and drug and alcohol addictions is included.

The state rightly is reforming its system of mental health care delivery, but the complexity of the endeavor means it can't be done in penny-pinching mode. Reform envisioned by the Department of Health and Human Services will keep clients closer to home and give local mental health agencies the money and authority to treat residents in their areas. State-local coordination will be key.

I don't know my way around this issue like Robert does, but it sounds like some executive leadership (ATTN: Mike Easley) is sorely need to push this reform forward.

Comments

Anglico

I could rant about this issue for days.

I am a Child and Family Therapist who works in rural Transylvania County. Formerly a part of state mental health, then part of the public-private hybrid, now a private practitioner in a successful agency, I've watched with astounded exasperation as the bureaucracy worked diligently to enact policies directly in conflict with the stated objectives of the mental health reform.

Bottom Line - The reform is intended to make it hard for people to access services and hard for providers to get reimbursed for them. Therefore the state saves money. Too shortsighted to be believable? Believe it.

There are many in state gov't who understand the issues and are working hard to get this train back on the rails, but the greater number are looking at numbers on a page, not people in a community, and they want that money to spend on tax cuts or schools or roads.

I have to stop talking now before I blow a gasket again.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Thanks Screwy

This is very helpful insight and not surprising now that I think it through. Most government "transformation" is about cutting costs and corners, outsourcing, privatizing and making the balance sheets look good. Sorry to get you steamed up this morning . . . but keep on rantin' friend. Sometimes that's the only way to get people to pay attention. And now you've got mine. Thanks.