Thursday, December 13, 2012

In its editorial, the state of Michigan's leading newspaper suggests methods to improve mental health care. Here are seven that are relevant from coast to coast - including Tennessee.

(Dec. 10, 2012) The Detroit Free Press last month issued a common-sense “agenda” for improving mental health care in Michigan. It's one the whole country needs to embrace.
detroitfreepressIn its editorial, the state’s leading newspaper identified issues and made prescriptions for addressing them. Here are seven of them that are relevant from coast to coast.
  • PRISONERS with mental illness in segregation (Prescription: Ban isolation for inmates with mental illness except for security reasons and stop switching prisoners being treated with brand-name drugs to generic ones.)
  • FAMILIES and civil commitment (Prescription: Make it easier for families with mentally ill loved ones to get a court order for inpatient or outpatient treatment.)
  • HOMELESSNESS (Prescription: Make it easier for people living on the streets with mental illness to access mental health services and disability benefits.)
  • POLICE officers on the front lines of mental health care (Prescription: Pass legislation mandating that law enforcement training include a mental health curriculum.)
  • JAILS functioning as mental health institutions (Prescription: Use diversion strategies to keep people with mental illness out of county jails and find ways to treat those who remain incarcerated.)
  • MENTAL health courts (Prescription: Maintain and expand them.)
  • COMMUNITY mental health care (Prescription: Enact a moratorium on closing public hospital beds, seriously consider adding more, adequately fund the Community Mental Health system.) 
The Free Press’ agenda for improving mental health care in Michigan” is a powerful and easy-to-use tool for advocates everywhere. If you’d like to see your state embrace this agenda:
  • Forward the editorial to your local newspaper and ask editors to reprint it or write a similar one of their own.
  • Forward the editorial to your state legislators and ask them to add these issues to your state’s legislative agenda.
  • Print the editorial and mail it to your governor, legislators, county health officials and others in a position to implement these prescriptions.

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