KSBY Investigates

May 23, 2014 1:07 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY

KSBY Investigates:Solutions to improving mental health care: Part 3

Many will agree that improving the mental health system begins with funding at the state and federal levels. In December the White House approved $100 million to help improve mental health centers and facilities.

"This is one area that needs to rise on the priority list and we need to do a better job," said Katcho Achadjian, Assemblyman of the 35th Assembly District

U.S. States cut 5-billion dollars from mental health services from 2009 to 2012. California tops the list for slashing over $550-million, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI.

"Luckily we now have this additional money coming in and we need to spend it where the needs are the most rather than some new programs I think we should go back and look at mental health," said Achadjian.

But Assemblyman Achadijan said mental health hospitals and in-patient facilities need to use their dollars more efficiently.

"If you visit the hospital you're going to find out that psychiatrists and psychologists spend more time doing paper work than taking care of the patients, so somewhere we have to cut the red tape and say spend most of your money where it's needed and let clerical people do the paperwork," he said.

Helping someone with a mental illness goes far beyond the clinical setting. This means looking for alternatives. Locally we have Transitions Mental Health Association. The non-profit has 30 programs at 35 locations in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties. The organization works closely with county mental health.

"What I would love to see is for us to have a crisis stabilization unit," said Judy Vick, Division Manager of Adult Mental Health Services.

She said a center would be open around the clock -- where someone could walk-in and get help.

Getting help for many means eliminating stigmas associated with mental illness.

"We need to make sure people understand it's normal, it happens. One in four adults in America have a need for help with mental health and we should be talking about it openly and not be ashamed of it," said Frank Warren, Manager of Prevention and Outreach, San Luis Obispo County.

"I think mental illnesses are very treatable and when people are able to find the right mix of housing and employment and medication if it is appropriate, you really wouldn't be able to know that they have a mental illness, and that is the goal," said
Jill Bolster-White, Executive Director, Transitions Mental Health Association.

There are three out-patient mental health clinics in San Luis Obispo County. In Santa Barbara County there are 11. Expansions are in the works, and mental health professionals hope to see a clinic for those with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Some advocates of mental health said implementing Laura's Law, which allows court-ordered treatment for the severely mentally ill, could significantly help. Orange County recently adopted Laura's Law.

Many will agree that improving the mental health system begins with funding at the state and federal levels. In December the White House approved $100 million to help improve mental health centers and facilities.

"This is one area that needs to rise on the priority list and we need to do a better job," said Katcho Achadjian, Assemblyman of the 35th Assembly District

U.S. States cut 5-billion dollars from mental health services from 2009 to 2012. California tops the list for slashing over $550-million, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI.

"Luckily we now have this additional money coming in and we need to spend it where the needs are the most rather than some new programs I think we should go back and look at mental health," said Achadjian.

But Assemblyman Achadijan said mental health hospitals and in-patient facilities need to use their dollars more efficiently.

"If you visit the hospital you're going to find out that psychiatrists and psychologists spend more time doing paper work than taking care of the patients, so somewhere we have to cut the red tape and say spend most of your money where it's needed and let clerical people do the paperwork," he said.

Helping someone with a mental illness goes far beyond the clinical setting. This means looking for alternatives. Locally we have Transitions Mental Health Association. The non-profit has 30 programs at 35 locations in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties. The organization works closely with county mental health.

"What I would love to see is for us to have a crisis stabilization unit," said Judy Vick, Division Manager of Adult Mental Health Services.

She said a center would be open around the clock -- where someone could walk-in and get help.

Getting help for many means eliminating stigmas associated with mental illness.

"We need to make sure people understand it's normal, it happens. One in four adults in America have a need for help with mental health and we should be talking about it openly and not be ashamed of it," said Frank Warren, Manager of Prevention and Outreach, San Luis Obispo County.

"I think mental illnesses are very treatable and when people are able to find the right mix of housing and employment and medication if it is appropriate, you really wouldn't be able to know that they have a mental illness, and that is the goal," said
Jill Bolster-White, Executive Director, Transitions Mental Health Association.

There are three out-patient mental health clinics in San Luis Obispo County. In Santa Barbara County there are 11. Expansions are in the works, and mental health professionals hope to see a clinic for those with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Some advocates of mental health said implementing Laura's Law, which allows court-ordered treatment for the severely mentally ill, could significantly help. Orange County recently adopted Laura's Law.

»Comments

PLEASE HELP US MODERATE COMMENTS

Offensive or inappropriate comments are subject to removal. To report a comment, please e-mail us at feedback@ksby.com, and include the name of the story and information on the comment.

Thank you! KSBY.com


Most Popular

Top Videos

1 2 3 4