Advocacy E-News September 23, 2015
September 23, 2015
NAMI NJ ADVOCATES GARNER ATTENTION
NJ.Com is reporting that the Flemington Raritan School Board meeting on Monday, September 21st Board President Bruce Davidson spoke of the board’s regret over an incident that stigmatizes people with a mental illness at the Board’s previous meeting. The incident had prompted NAMI-NJ to criticize the board’s actions. District Superintendent Dr. Maryrose Caulfield said that she has been meeting with people one-on-one, and had met with NAMI-NJ and NAMI Hunterdon, over the incident. Dr. Caulfield will be holding ongoing meeting with NAMI to bring mental illness awareness and education to the district.
ATTITUDES TOWARD MENTAL ILLNESS HAVE NOT CHANGED ENOUGH
A one-minute exchange during an August meeting of the Flemington-Raritan school board raises legitimate questions about just how far society has come in its attitudes toward mental illness. Let’s focus on how the mere mention of mental illness continues to evoke titters and jeers, even today, even among people chosen by their peers to run a community’s school district. The school board oversees the entire tone of the school system, Lubitz correctly points out, and it’s alarming that there’s such a lack of sensitivity on this issue.
MORE ANCORA WORKERS ACCUSED IN PATIENT ASSAULTS
Two more Ancora Psychiatric Hospital employees have been accused of assaulting patients, according to information obtained by the Courier-Post. Patients reported both cases in July. Neither patient was injured nor were criminal charges filed. All told, 18 Ancora employees have been investigated for assaulting patients over the past three years, but police were unable to find enough evidence to file charges in most of the incidents.
DO ENOUGH NEW JERSEY COPS GET MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING?
Not all police in New Jersey are trained on how to deal with subjects suffering from mental illnesses. According to Capt. Stephen Jones of the New Jersey State Police, mental health has been “the focus of a number of improvements” in the force over the past few years. On top of the training for new recruits, the NJSP also offers a full-week course to all troopers. The course is made possible by the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program and training, first brought to New Jersey in 2004. Ten of New Jersey’s 21 counties also utilize the model for its police officers, mental health professionals and advocates.
OVERRIDE VOTE SET ON CHRISTIE VETO OF MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS
Senate President Steve Sweeney is seeking to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to be notified when a prospective gun-buyer applies to expunge mental health records. The legislation, which passed unanimously in June, would require those seeking to have mental health records to first contact law enforcement officials. Instead Christie called for implementing a plan that includes possible involuntary commitment of those who could be considered dangerous if their illness were untreated. Sweeney said Wednesday at a statehouse news conference the vote is set for Sept. 24.
ANGELINI: STATE MUST REVAMP SUICIDE PREVENTION EFFORTS
Several years ago, Monmouth County was at the epicenter of a cluster of suicides that devastated local families and communities. While we haven’t seen suicide levels rise to that level again, the suicide rate in Monmouth County is going up. This increase is compounded by a frightening heroin epidemic throughout our state that is claiming more lives every day. While finding solutions to these vexing problems is a daunting task, improving the manner in which services are delivered will go a long way toward helping those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse issues.