National Conference on Mental Health Block Grant
National Conference on Mental Health Statistics
Washington, DC, May, 2003

Sylvia Caras, PhD

There are lots of familiar faces here. The first day I said warm hello’s to Andrea, John Allen, Brian Coopper, Mary Ellen Copeland, Vicki Cousins, Larry Fricks, Bernie (Guam), Carmen Lee, Steve Onken, Priscilla Ridgway, Wilma Townsend, and lots of MHSIP people.

I presented on the UN Convention - for more about this see

Curie: SAMHSA staff will be measured by performance contracts related to the matirx. Ongoing and large kudos to Gail Hutchings. The New Freedom Commission Report will result in more Americans diagnosed, diagnosed early.

Hogan: Look at the Report as a system treatment plan. The Commission was the only disability-specific initiative in the New Freedom Initiative. It’s vision is that mental illness be prevented or cured. (I’m reminded of some of the disability advocacy concerns about eugenics and mercy killing and removing certain occurrences from the human population. On the other hand, preventing the violence, sexual abuse and incest that can lead to trauma and mental illness would be a social initiative I’d support. But there’s a basic contradiction between the profiling of famous folks with psychiatric disabilities (Nash, Churchill, Lincoln, Buchwald, ...) and the initiative to prevent mental illness. S.) Rosalynn Carter, commenting on the changes since the Carter Mental Health Commission - "Recovery is real." The Report will be submitted to the President "soon." The White House will them release, *may* also issue a charge, with actions, may elevate SAMHSA’s role. After the Report is released, 16 subcommittee reports, 50 - 80 pages each, will be published.

There are six areas of recommendations. States should not wait to begin implementation, because, according to Ross’ findings, stakeholder collaboration is a precursor for change..

!. Mental health is essential to health – encourage seeking help, stop suicide, anti-stigma campaigns don’t work

2. Consumer (adults) and family (children) driven care, realign federal program, federal flexibility, real state plans, accountability for real outcomes

3. Eliminate disparities, end discrimination.

4. Early screening and treatment, schools, primary care

5. Provide the best care science can offer, relevant research (what about the anecdotal, innovative, experimental, support-driven, ... ? S.)

6. Use communication and information technology

Myth debunked: deinstitutionalization resulted not from the introduction of the major tranquilizer anti-psychotic medication but from the inability of institutions to maintain a profit. Because a lawsuit had been won requiring wages to be paid to inmates for their labor which had been used without recompense to create goods and services sold for profit to augment institution revenue. The lawsuit impact was nationwide and resulted in these institutions no longer being economically viable. So they closed.

Overheard: reminiscences about the consumer/survivor walkout from a CSP grantees meeting in 1994 in protest over unbalanced NAMI inclusion, a suggestion to have some of the participants retell that story at next year’s conference, on the walkout 10th anniversary, and a remembrance that Bernie Arons commented then to not again have so many consumers together at a meeting.

The theme of the second plenary was recovery. Living in the community means community representatives are stakeholders, should be included in planning meetings - local politicians, business owners, local media, local entertainers, ... – beyond the mental health and social services population..

Stone from New York has been named SAMHSA Deputy Administrator, replacing Joe Autry. Overheard: that keeping favor with Pataki influenced the selection. The CMHS Director announcement is "imminent" according to Bernie Arons, who has shaved his beard. Names now being rumored are Steve Mayberg, CA and Mike Hogan, OH.

Plenary slide: "There is a heady mix of promise - The Recovery Movement, The New Freedom Initiative, The Evidence Based Practice Movement - and uncertainty - The Economy, The Iraq/Afghanistan/Middle East crisis, The Challenge of Medicaid Reform."

Olmstead: WI found that "diversion from nursing home care for individuals with mental illness saves dollars in the range of $1946 to $2020 per month per person."

Evidence: The first randomized clinical trial was in 1948.

NREP: A National Registry of Effective Programs in Mental Health is being created. There will be a web site and application information about how to submit your program for review and listing.

CMHS consumer meeting: About 25, I recognized about a third. Expected around June 7 the GFA for the Technical Assistance Centers, including for Alternatives. Alternatives Advisory Council will convene early n October to plan 04 Alternatives. No 03 Alternatives.

Plenary slide: "The level of recovery for all consumers increased in communities where there was the presence of a Consumer Operated Service."