Response to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors regarding possible creation of a health agency

FOLLOW THIS LINK to the draft report prepared by the CEO for public discussion. It aims to set out the potential benefits, drawbacks, and structure for consideration in creating a Health Agency that would consolidate the activities of the Departments of Health Services, Public Health, and Mental Health.  The question is not whether health care for the public should be better integrated, because of course it should, but rather whether an Agency advances this goal or not.  This 0cb9926c-3944-4165-a01f-ea4e881410c0report is open to public comment starting now, so if you or members of your community have any input, that would be very welcome. The report will be revised on the basis of input from various Stakeholders and from further community meetings and then presented to the Board of Supervisors who will then decide whether or not it is the public interest to create a Health Agency and if so what shape it ought to take.  Input can be provided at:  healthintegration@lacounty.gov.

 

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Each Mind Matters–Empowering Community Mental Health through Research, Practice, Policy and Advocacy

The 7th International “Together Against Stigma” Conference will be held February 18-20, 2015 in San Francisco. This conference will be the first to be hosted in the United States and underscores the fact that stigma of mental health challenges is not exclusive to any one country or culture: it is pervasive, encountered at all levels of society, institutions, among families and within the healthcare profession itself.

Learning Objectives

Understand Societal Injustices

  • Understand efforts and effective strategies to address pervasive myths and enduring challenges to reduce stigma and discrimination on an individual, institutional, and societal level.

Promote Cultural Responsiveness

  • Engage diverse communities and identify service needs and trends to address racial, ethnic, and cultural disparities so as to improve competency, responsiveness and acceptance of all cultures.

Expand your Global Perspective

  • Learn about what nations and cultures around the world are doing to advocate for stigma change and to increase quality of care to achieve equity of services.

 Network with Colleagues

  • Exchange knowledge, share resources, and collaborate regarding successes and challenges.

Innovate

  • Disseminate emerging research to support innovative stigma reduction policies and practices to support diverse populations and future culturally diverse generations

Who should attend?

Those interested in mental health as it relates reducing societal injustices, promoting cross-cultural collaboration, and advocating for improved quality of services through research, policy, and practice on a systemic and community level.

  • People with Lived Experience, Family Members, and other Community Stakeholders
  • Researchers
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Behavioral Health Administrators and Policymakers
  • Community and faith-based organizations
  • Health Care Administrators, Planners, Providers
  • Criminal Justice professionals
  • Public Health Administrators, Planners, Providers
  • Primary Care professionals
  • Education Administrators
  • Treatment Providers and Counselors
  • Veteran Service Providers
  • Educators and community leaders

Urgent Alert for Mental Health in Los Angeles County

Please raise your voice to oppose the consolidation of the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health, Health Services and Public Health.

Supervisor Antonovich is proposing to consolidate the three health agencies (Dept. of Mental Health, Dept. of Public Health, and Dept. of Health Services) in LA County into one agency. This will be heard at the Supervisor’s meeting on next Tuesday, 1/13/15). NAMI Los Angeles County Council is opposed to the consolidation of the health agencies for the following reasons:

  1. It is critical that the Department of Mental Health maintain direct accountability and communication with the Board of Supervisors and not through another entity.
  2. Consolidating these various health-related departments will make it more difficult to bring attention and funding to mental health concerns. Mental health may not be priority #1 in a new health agency, whereas it is of upmost concern to the current Department of Mental Health. Mental health is the leading form of disability and that element is always lost in the shuffle due to stigma and lack of attention in society.
  3. At the state level, California has attempted to consolidate the Department of Mental Health with Health Services — and years later — they continue to work out the operations and policies. This consolidation of health agencies in Los Angeles will create unnecessary confusion and obfuscation of mental health concerns and issues. This will create operational issues that will invariably decease resources aimed at recovery and wellness for individuals living with mental illness.
  4. The new agency may hire or maintain employees who do not necessarily have expertise about mental health and illness. Or, the new agency may opt to maintain employees with less experience and background in mental health than others. These measures may decrease the ability to make informed decisions about mental health issues at the proposed agency.
  5. We are making some progress on mental health issues via the current Department of Mental Health, which may be halted by consolidation efforts.
  6. The Board of Supervisors should consider stakeholder input in this tremendous decision.

In essence: Our county needs a greater focus on mental health, not less. This is what the state has done and it has not been a smooth transition. Delivery of services requires focus and attention to detail. Burying mental health in an even larger bureaucracy  will reduce focus, not improve it.

We encourage you to contact your Supervisors’ offices to make your voice heard on this matter. Please see the Letter to board of Supervisors 1-9-2015 from Brittney Weissman the Executive Director of the NAMI Los Angeles County Council.   For more information please see the article in the Los Angeles Time. The proposed motion can be accessed on the BOS Agenda.

Please call your district supervisor and let them know how you feel before 1/13/15.  For most of NAMI South Bay Supervisor Don Knabe or Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is your supervisor.  Please connect to their links below to verify and raise your voice.

First District

Hilda L. Solis (213) 974-4111

Second District
Mark Ridley-Thomas (213) 974-2222
http://www.markridley-thomas.com/
Third District (westside)

Sheila Kuehl (213) 974-3333

Fourth District
Don Knabe (213) 974-4444
http://knabe.com/staff/
Fifth District
Michael D. Antonovich (213)974-5555