Wednesday, February 25, 2009

House Mental Health Reform Meeting Today

The House Mental Health Reform Committee met today for the first time this session.  This year this committee will be co-chaired by Representative Beverly Earle and Representative William Brisson. 

On the agenda today was an introduction of the members followed by comments by Secretary Lanier Cansler.

Representative Earle stated in her opening remarks that "We will be talking about developmental disabilities and substance abuse.  We will be talking about more than mental health".  For people with developmental disabilities and their families this was an important change.  To often we have seen the discussion of Mental Health Reform be only about issues facing state psychiatric hospitals or services for people with mental illness.  Although we understand the crisis that is happening in the mental health community there is a real an equally challenging crisis with services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Representative Earle went on to explain that as these meetings progress the members will hear presentations from staff, from providers, from consumers, from advocates and from family members. 

Representative Brisson's statements reflected the same "team" philosophy. He opening response quoted Secretary Cansler.  "Secretary Cansler said today that Mental Health 'reform' is over and now we need to move forward.  I agree with him. It is time to bear down working together to guide mental health in the direction that we know we can provide the best services. It is about working together."

This committee will meet every Wednesday at 2pm. Legislation will be brought before the committee. We will be closely following how this committee proceeds but from what we heard today it is very promising.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who is own this committee I keep sending email after email after email to this people and other than Representative Verla Insko I get nothing. We are in the makings of another crisis in WNC from what I understand. I have no provider now. I was being abused by Family Preservation Services and without them I have no one. What to do?