Advocacy E-News June 2, 2014
June 2, 2014
MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS STILL FAR AWAY FOR MANY
As federal health care reforms start to kick the new health care law gives greater access to those with mental illness. The reforms put mental health care on equal footing with physical health care. That means, at least in theory, that those who need psychological care can get it. But there’s also a potential that more patients are heading into a system that already has too few doctors and clinics to treat them. The solution, mental health professionals and advocates say, is boosting the number of mental health providers, offering incentives to encourage medical students to pursue specialty fields and improving the reimbursement they get from Medicaid.
CAN THERAPISTS PREVENT VIOLENCE?
Once again questions have been raised not only about how people with a mental illness and guns, but why authorities can’t intervene to prevent violence. Do the laws regarding mental health professionals’ duty to warn the authorities of a threat need to be toughened to make them more effective? Six experts discuss the question on the New York Times Room for Debate.
PEW: 1 IN 5 INMATES RETURNS TO COMMUNITY WITHOUT SUPERVISION
More than 1 in 5 state inmates maxed out their prison terms and were released to their communities without any supervision in 2012, undermining efforts to reduce reoffending rates and improve public safety, according to a report released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. A wide range of laws and policies adopted in the 1980s and ’90s has resulted in a sharp increase in the rate at which inmates serve their full sentences behind bars, leaving no time at the end for parole or probation agencies to monitor their whereabouts and activities or help them transition back into society by providing substance abuse, mental health, or other intervention programs.
Max-out rates vary widely by state. New Jersey was one of nine states where more than 40 percent of inmates maxed out their prison terms and were released without supervision.
STATE TRIES TO REACH PEOPLE WITH POST-SANDY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
New Jersey mental-health professionals know there are many residents affected by Hurricane Sandy who have yet to seek help. Now the state is increasing efforts to reach them. Using federal funds, the state Department of Health is funding $4 million in grants to community health centers and hospitals to provide behavioral health screenings for depression, post-traumatic stress, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse.