Sunday, September 07, 2008

REMEMBER: the Community Mental Health Center employees DID NOT go the homes of the clients

Most people seem to forget just how the Community Mental Health Centers used to function. Certainly there were concentrations of mental health providers and people in the community knew where they were but there were no mental health providers, save the ACT teams, which were already in place (psychiatrist goes out to the client's home) that went into the community.

The below is related to an article by Scott Sexton of the Winston Salem Journal, as associated with a client, 'Debbie', w/ schizoaffective disorder. He seems to want to prove w/ one case that mental health reform has failed.

Not so: it took a lot of active and passive work by lots of people to create these problems.


Debbie's case confirms that mental-health 'reform' failed

By Scott Sexton | Journal Columnist

Published: September 7, 2008

"....Community agencies and private providers were overwhelmed and got little or no support. Promised help from the federal government was slow to arrive -- big surprise there -- and services that had once been available were no longer readily accessible...."

September 8, 2008

Dear Mr. Sexton:

Thank you for your article on a person having schizoaffective disorder, one named 'Debbie.'

I have some comments. I want to make a point here re: how I, as a psychologist, would work with this Debbie: I would go to her house and see her as long as they was OK w/ her. You might say that sometimes I 'push myself' on my clients'; it is done in the spirit (truly) of concern for their well being.

I do not understand why others, like me, did not go out to Debbie's house to see her.

Can you get the answer to that question? I assume that they did not from your story. Community Support Services (CSS) has (had: constant defunding has about killed it) agenda is to go into the homes of the clients.

I admit to being turned off to your story as you took the cheap shot associated with 'strangling the government.'

My dear: the problem w/ NC mental health reform have compounded BECAUSE NC Dems, who run the state, act like Republicans in that they saw privatization as a preferable way of delivering what had been left up to the Community Mental Health Centers wherein people sat in their offices and if people did not show up for their appointments because they were too crazy, had no transportation, or the kid was sick----all the better.

Community Support Services, which has attached to that service, helpful people, WOULD HAVE before it got so severely cut, been able to go to her house and address some of these difficulties.

BETTER YET: pay the well trained mental health professional (we all know those CSS workers are nothing but highschool graduates) to go out to the homes of the Debbies.

This indeed, what the ACT team does: the psychiatrist and others go to the home of the person who has severe mental health challenges.

The AGENDA of NC Mental Health Reform was to take the services into the community. With each defunding and pulling back, this has been less and less possible except for the persistent cusses like myself who do exactly what they want in terms of managing their clients and seeing to their needs.

Additionally, what is not helping these problems to get resolved is that no providers are included in on any of the decision making.

So, what would I do?

I would pay the well qualified providers to see the clients, in their homes, as necessary.


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