Wednesday, October 08, 2008

NAMI Wake-county rebutts NC NAMI patina of NC Mental Health Reform success, as per NC NAMI silence on the matter

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD: Clinical Licensed Psychologist, NC : Asheville/ Waynesville, NC
e mail:

October 8, 2008

Dear NAMI Wake President, Kathy Smith (; Past President, Frank Edwards, (, and Kent Goddard, Vice President ( (with cc to NAMI NC):

Ann Ackland sent me a copy of the Wake NAMI statement and evaluation as regards the status of NC Mental Health Reform.

I was pleased to see that you are speaking in no uncertain terms about the challenges and difficulties as contrasted to the upcoming 2008 NC NAMI meeting which has one mention vaguely associated w/ NC Mental Health Reform as associated with its more than 23 meetings over the course of three days the end of October, 2008, to take place in Raleigh, NC.

Moreover, there was no mention, as per NAMI NC, in terms of any meetings or concerns associated with the interface of officers of the law and people w/ mental health challenges.

The NAMI-Wake report is here: (cut and paste)

The NAMI-Wake findings and recommendations are HERE (cut and paste):


I read w/ some considerable exasperation the fact that, "The state has very limited data about how, and even if, those patients not being admitted are being served."

And I would like to therefore know why mental health providers are required to accumulate vast amounts of information on state funded clients---to the tune of 30+ pages associated with putting into place a Person Centered Plan and authorization for services?

To my mind, if they are not going to use the data, then let us disband w/ the accumulation of useless information.

Indeed, the 'standing on the head' of psychologist Carl Rogers' notion of 'person centered therapy', morphed into 'Person Centered Plan', as per NC DHHS, is an abomination.

As further indication of the lack of attention paid to data that seems to be ceaselessly and endlessly accumulated, you stated this: "Data about those discharged within 30 days from a psychiatric hospital are not available."

This matter, which the NAMI-Wake report stated, seems to outline the entire failure of NC Mental Health REform: (NC has 100 counties) "Fifty eight counties have a suicide rate above the national average of 11.01. Twelve of 25 LME’s had suicide rates above the nationalaverage."

If SUICIDE can be deemed to be the final statement on the lack of availability of mental health care, then, to be sure, NC Mental Health Reform has failed.

Along with the lack of training,surely suggested by the COMPLETE LACK of attention to this matter as per the 2008 NAMI convention the end of October, 2008, is this fact, which your report stated:

"The number of transports for involuntary commitment is increasing. The number of hours law enforcement officers spend on involuntary commitments is skyrocketing, seriously impacting small sheriffs’ departments across the state."

But the state of NC seems to be SAVING MONEY as re: this matter which your report stated:

"State and county funding for mental health services to consumers has declined since 2001 despite a significant increase in the population of North Carolina."

IN CONTRAST to the NAMI 2008 meeting, which pays no attention to the matter of training of officers of the law who necessarily engage with, and impact, citizens w/ mental health challenges, you indicated these as pressing concerns:

State Sheriff’s Offices

􀂾 Set up a uniform procedure throughout the state that allows deputies to drop off
patients at hospitals, transferring custody to the hospital security. .

􀂾 Set up an alternative mechanism (such as a state-wide contract) for transporting
involuntarily committed patients when they are discharged from the hospital.

􀂾 For counties with fewer than 5 deputies on duty at a time, establish an alternative
mechanism for transporting patients under involuntary commitment procedures.

􀂾 Develop stronger ties between the sheriffs’ offices and the LME so that issues
related to people with mental illness can be addressed before they become

􀂾 Continue to encourage Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for all law
enforcement across the state.

THANK YOU !!----NAMI-Wake for your detail, committed report as pertaining to the mental health challenges of the citizens of NC.


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