January 15, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lee Brett (919) 834-2099 Lee.Brett@nccivitas.org
RALEIGH – At long last, there are positive moves on the state and federal levels to address catastrophic failures in the mental health system. A new oped by Civitas policy analyst Lee Brett, a version of which was published this morning in the Charlotte Observer, outlines opportunities to change things for the better.
On the state level, Brett explained, the new Crisis Solutions Initiative is a chance to fix some of the worst failures of North Carolina’s 2001 mental health reform. Through the initiative, the McCrory administration has signaled its intent to apply evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for North Carolinians in crisis. Brett urges policymakers to closely examine assisted outpatient treatment, a practice that has been shown to reduce hospitalization and arrest while increasing adherence to medication and community involvement.
In Congress, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) has introduced a new “Helping Families in Mental Health Crises Act.” The bill is one of the first efforts to direct federal attention at severe mental illness as opposed to mental health in general.
Brett wrote: “The American mental health system has been stuck in the rabbit hole for far too long. But right now, there is a pivotal opportunity to change things for the better. The state DHHS, working with the legislature, can institute clinically-proven reforms that address the fragmentation and inadequacy of the state system. And in Congress, North Carolina representatives and senators can attack the issue by giving careful consideration to badly-needed, prudent legislation.”
The full op-ed is posted on the Civitas Institute’s web site, www.nccivitas.org.
For more information, contact Lee Brett at 919-834-2099. To arrange an interview, contact Communications Director Jim Tynen at 919-834-2099 or email James.Tynen@nccivitas.org.