Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mental Health Reform: Is the Whole World Watching?

This blog gets about 9 hits per day, and very few comments.  I've been pretty happy with that-  I think that the people who need to hear about what is going on are doing so, and the blog has served as a place where I can put ideas "out there" for comment and observation.  It is, on the other hand, a bit troubling that we are undergoing a massive reform of the Children's Mental Health system in Massachusetts, and some days it seems that no one is noticing.

In my practice in Webster, one of every four patients has a mental health diagnosis, and has sought/is seeking treatment through either counseling or medication.  Last night, Governor Patrick came to Webster, to hear the concerns of the people of Webster.  It was a classic "Town meeting" in a town that does Town Meetings for real,  and he did a great job answering the questions.  What did he get asked?
  • How to save dairy farms?
  • How are we protected against terrorism?
  • What's up with "expanded learning time?
  • Can DPH improve staffing ratios (nurse/patient) at hospitals?
  • Water rights and global companies?
  • Beaver dams vs. human homes?
  • Fixing public housing infrastructure?
  • Encouraging alternative energy?
  • Saving local libraries?
All valid questions, all real concerns.  Mental health care services, however, did not percolate to the top of the list.  The Governor, by the way, was quick knowledgeable and facile in discussing all of these issues.

For the record, one of four of the children of the folks in that room interact with a a mental health system that is hard to access and use;  the CBHI and the related legislative effort is essential to making that system work.  Legislative session ends in 7 days.  Got some work to do.

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map