The state’s health and human services agency launched an effort today for what it hopes better helps those dealing with mental health or substance abuse crises.
The “Crisis Solutions Initiative” announced Thursday morning by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos wants to stem the emergency room visits by those suffering from mental health issues, and instead steer them to community resources. DHHS estimated that there were 150,000 visits to emergency rooms in the state last year for addiction-related issues or psychiatric conditions.
“With today’s announcement, we begin a focused, long-term effort to ensure that individuals and families who are experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis know where to turn for the help they need,” Wos said in a written statement. “In turn, we can begin to reduce the tremendous burden that these issues place on hospital emergency departments and law enforcement.”
The initiative is in the planning stages, according to a DHHS news release.
From the news release:
As a part of this initiative, a Crisis Solutions Coalition will be created to address the inefficiencies that currently exist surrounding crisis services in the state. Secretary Wos has charged Dave Richard, director of the DHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disability and Substance Abuse Services, with leading this coalition. Patient advocates, along with leaders from healthcare, government, and law enforcement communities will be invited to join the coalition to help:
- Recommend and establish community partnerships to strengthen the continuum of care for mental health and substance abuse services.
- Promote education and awareness of alternative community resources to the use of emergency departments.
- Make recommendations related to data sharing to help identify who, when and where people in crisis are served, and what the results of those services are.
- Create a repository of evidence-based practices and provide technical assistance to Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs), law enforcement and providers on how to respond to crisis scenarios.
- Recommend legislative, policy and funding changes to help break down barriers associated with accessing care.
- Assist with the creation of LME-MCO Local Business Plans to provide a road map for mental health investments in the community.