Policy and a Pint: Moving Our Mental Health System Forward

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Policy and a Pint - May 29, 2014
An audience member asks a question at Policy and a Pint (MPR / Leah Garaas)
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Policy and a Pint: Moving Our Mental Health System Forward
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Improving our mental health systems is one of the biggest public health challenges facing every state in the country, where mental illnesses affect at least one in five people at some time in their lives. Although much is known about what works in mental health care treatment and community supports, many people receive little or no treatment or support, resulting in poor outcomes that include ending up homeless or in the criminal justice system. Discrimination and stigma hamper the development of robust mental health policies and funding, and despite years of work, we still don't treat mental illnesses like other health care conditions.

Host Steve Seel is joined by Dr. Bruce Sutor of Mayo Clinic, Rev. Alfred Babington-Johnson from the Stairstep Foundation, and Sue Abderholden of Minnesota NAMI to discuss the foundation of Minnesota mental health system and the barriers to meeting the demand for mental health treatment and supports when parity, funding, and the needed workforce is in short supply. What can we do about it?

Listen to the conversation above, or download the MP3. Find choice quotes from the discussion below.

On needs in the mental health system:

"We'll know when we have enough services and care and preventive care in the state of Minnesota when the emergency rooms stop filling up with people. The issue is that the preventive services — and all the things that keep people from getting as ill as they get — don't exist." – Dr. Bruce Sutor, Mayo Clinic

On "Mental Health First Aid":

"We have determined that there is a need in our community to increase capacity for first responders around mental health issues... In addition to the need for urgent care and psychologists, we need more and more of us to be aware of the fact that these are common issues, and all of us need to be more alert to how to cope with the immediacy of the problem." – Rev. Alfred Babington-Johnson, Stairstep Foundation

On what each of us can do:

"There are two things for people. One is to reach out. If you are experiencing symptoms, reach out to someone for help. If you have a family member or friend who you can see is struggling, reach out to them and help them. And then the last thing is to speak out. We need allies. We need people to join our movement, to really make sure that legislators and others really understand the need to continue to build our system, we need to make sure people have better access to care and treatment so they can live full lives in our community." – Sue Abderholden, Minnesota NAMI

Funded by Target, Policy and a Pint® is an event series cosponsored by The Current and the Citizens League that engages people in important conversations about public policy in Minnesota.

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