Mental Health Task Force Meeting Minutes January 14, 2009

Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force

Meeting Summary

January 14, 2009

Present: Natalie Ammarell, Rick Allen, Kate Barrett, David Chapman, Linda Foxworth, John Gilmore, Gwen Harvey, Trish Hussey, Thava Mahadevan, Tom Reid, Anna Scheyett, Mark Sullivan, Judy Truitt, Michelle Turner, Clay Whitehead

Guests: Cim Brailer, Daniel Goldberg, Taylor Sisk, Verla Insko

Staff: Andrew Pham; Carlo Robustelli


§  Approve Minutes

§  Review of data collected to date and Task Force blog site

§  Proposal : Start up two working groups

àBuilding local service capacity through increased use/shared supervision of trainees

àDefining the “box” what does our local (broadly) defined mental health service system look like? Funding, services, statistics, connections – “in English” so that everyone can understand

§  Next meeting date/agenda and public listening session proposal

§  Freedom House

Natalie Ammarell called the meeting to order at 4:17 PM on January 14, 2009 in Town Operations Center 1st Floor Conference Room. Those present re-introduced themselves.

Minutes: Natalie suggested that members try to reduce the paper burden by either reading e-mailed minutes and materials prior to the meeting or printing them out to bring with them. This will reduce the amount of extra copies that the Mayor’s Office must generate.  Mark Sullivan moved to approve the minutes with minor corrections; Kate Barrett seconded. Minutes approved.

Data and Blog Site: Natalie noted that with so much information posted on our blog site and other easily accessible resources, staff will not spend a great deal of time “digesting” information for the Task Force. Members can browse the blog site and access the information that they feel they need.

That said, some information was distributed: 1) a summary of responses by Chapel Hill Town department heads to an information request sent out to them; 2) some state hospital service statistics.

Andrew Pham then made a brief presentation about our blog site. A blog is interactive and has constantly changing content, with participation by multiple authors. By contrast, a website has static content and represents one-way communication, without the possibility of comment by readers. The purpose of the Mental Health Task Force’s blog site will be to foster interaction among task force members and others around mental health issues.  The address of the blog is

Task Force members discussed use of the blog, including concerns about how posted information might be used out of context. Natalie reminded the group that this is an entirely public process and there are many people who would like to be part of the dialogue. The blog site offers us an opportunity to engage a broader group. It was agreed that this will be a managed/moderated site that can serve as one of several mechanisms for Task Force communication: a repository of information and a place where we can seek the participation of others in our work. The question of whether there can be any kind of closed forum for Task Force members will be explored, though this is probably unlikely, given the public nature of our work.

Work Groups: Natalie proposed that the Task Force establish two subgroups to work on specific issues: 1) Shared supervision of students who have mental health agency placements; and 2) Describing/defining the mental health service system.

The idea for the first group came from discussion at the Task Force’s meeting in December. There could be an opportunity to add service capacity simply by ensuring that adequate student supervision is available. Trish Hussey pointed out that supervision is non billable time that takes away from direct care. Anna Scheyett noted that organizations could pull together and hire a Licensed Social Worker to provide supervision. After some discussion, it was agreed to set this group up to do exploratory work and then come back to the Task Force with its ideas. Anna, Trish, Mark Sullivan and Tom Reid volunteered.

The second group is needed to help define the “box” – put the whole picture together regarding what the mental health service system looks like, how it works, etc. Again, this would be exploratory. Judy Truitt pointed out that she has a PowerPoint presentation that includes a lot of this information. She handed that out and said that it could be posted on the blog as well. Linda Foxworth, Thava Mahadevan and Michelle Turner volunteered to work on this task.

Natalie put the idea of work groups into a larger context. She noted that we have only 2 hours per month for our discussions; thus, we need a means for enlarging the number of perspectives involved and getting some basic work done that can then be discussed by the Task Force as a whole. It was agreed that work groups, public listening sessions and the blog all represent ways to accomplish this. Kate Barrett also pointed out that we can make important connections with other groups (e.g., Geriatric task force) that are already working on some of these issues.

Public Listening Sessions: After discussion, it was agreed that on the 24th and 25th of February, 2009 (6:00 p.m.) the Task Force will hold public listening sessions in Town Council Chambers. These will offer an opportunity to hear from specific professionals and others whom we invite, as well as members of the community at large who wish to come and talk with us. These sessions would not be interactive – we will listen; people can also submit written statements, etc. There was also agreement that there are certain people with whom we want to interact and we will have to make provision for this.

Next Task Force Meeting: The next Task Force meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on February 11, 2009. Members of the task force will make presentations about their own agencies/work in the mental health system. The meeting will be held at OPC.

Freedom House: Trish Hussey shared information about the financial challenges facing the Freedom House clinics. Over the next months, the organization will be looking at the structure of services and different models of providing services. In the meantime, the clinics are open and providing ongoing services.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 6:04 p.m.


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