Minutes 11 March 09

Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force

Meeting Summary

March 11, 2009

Task Force Members Present: Natalie Ammarell (Chair), Rick Allen, David Chapman, Linda Foxworth, John Gilmore, Thava Mahadevan, Tom Reid, Anna Scheyett, Mark Sullivan, Michelle Turner, Judy Truitt

Task Force Members Absent: Kate Barrett, Gwen Harvey, Trish Hussey, Clay Whitehead

Staff Members Present: Andrew Pham

Members of the Public Present: Cim Brailer, Representative Verla Insko


§  Welcome

§  Approve February 11 Minutes

§  Presentations by Task Force Members

§  Discussion

ü  Debrief of Listening Sessions and Legislative Breakfast

ü  Who else do we want/need to hear from?

ü  “Action” ideas we have heard

ü  Focusing our work going forward

§  Next Meeting Date

Natalie Ammarell called the meeting to order at 4:12 PM on March 11, 2009 in the Conference Room at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

Approval of the Previous Meeting Minutes

The Task Force approved the minutes of the previous meeting without corrections.

Presentations by Task Force Members

Carolina Outreach: Tom Reid

§  150 staff serving about 600 families – Orange, Durham, Chatham and Asheville

§  Expanding to Community Support Team for adults (to support Independent Living Program)

§  16-21 age group – at risk of homelessness – 50 youth participate in independent living class. Operate an independent house and looking to buy another. Want to offer more substance abuse services.

§  Latino Outreach Program – 15 staff (5 P- or LCSW) serves 100. Collaborate with El Futuro and El Centro.

§  Issue: Age 18 and on Medicaid are considered children; age 18 and on IPRS dollars are considered adults.

§  OPC is largest funder for Independent Living.

§  Have linkages with Orange DSS. Durham DSS seeds the independent living program.

Orange County Mental Health Association: Mark Sullivan

§  Loose affiliation with NC MHA

§  Mission: Identify gaps and meet them through innovative approaches

§  Community Backyard program funded through a SAMSA grant

§  COMPEER addresses social isolation – supported through fundraising/charitable giving and local government

§  FAN (Family Advocacy Network) – linkages with Court, schools, OPC, DSS. Juvenile Crime Prevention funding.

§  New Pro Bono Counseling Network – volunteer professionals agree to see one client/year. Will try to fill gaps left by private insurance/Medicaid. Funded by OPC and Strowd Rose Foundation.

§  Operating budget: $425,000. “Membership” about 500 but MHA does not really function as a membership organization

Orange Person Chatham (OPC) LME: Judy Truitt

§  MH Reform-related downsizing was from a comprehensive service delivery organization to a management entity – from 245 staff and $45 million budget to 66 staff and $21 million budget.

§  OPC is the smallest multi-county LME in the state. It is not clear how many LME’s the state actually wants to end up with.

§  Alamance-Caswell and OPC have entered discussions re possible merger. This would bring LME size to 9th in state. Potential for also adding in 5-County LME.

§  Intent is to spin Community Resource Court back out into the community once it is fully stabilized.

§  Last few years, there have been dramatic cuts. About a month ago, cuts were made and an additional cut coming. Now looking at next year’s budget; we believe this year’s cuts are permanent and another 10% will be cut in 2010. Question is: Will the State manage the cuts and apply them as they see fit versus applying across programs? Also fear we will have to cut residential services (higher per capita costs).

§  Concerns (besides money): lack of vision at the State level and the poor relationship between State and local levels.


Natalie distributed a compilation of suggestions/ideas/comments received to date by the Task Force. She observed that the Listening Sessions really brought home for her the reality that the Task Force cannot do much about the issues related to MH Reform, system structure, etc. BUT, we can find some things to do locally. Can we boost Mental Health Association efforts? What advocacy issues can we add our voice to? What concrete actions can we foster locally?

Judy Truitt noted that she heard strong themes of information and awareness; Anna Scheyett said that she clearly heard the need for education around navigation of the service system. In the discussion that ensued, the un-evenness of availability of services was noted, as was the reality that the system is “acuity-based”, with many people ending up on wait lists.

After considerable discussion about the provider community and other topics, the group agreed: 1) as “homework” for the next meeting, review all the comments/suggestions and assess whether “actionable” by the Task Force and then group similar items together; and 2) once consensus has been reached on “actionable” items, the Task Force will create smaller working groups to develop recommendations/potential action steps.

Next meetings of the Task Force were set for April 8th and May 13th.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m.


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