News and Observer
Published: Mar 15, 2008 12:30 AM
Modified: Mar 15, 2008 06:07 AM
Regarding your recent series on mental health reform in North Carolina: We have experienced the dismantling of a well-established public system that needed modernization and replaced it with fragmented and unsystematic processes that neither consumers nor professionals know how to navigate. What do we do now? We do what every responsible/ethical behavioral health and medical health professional does when presented with a crisis: stabilize the situation!
Constant state-level policy changes have plagued our system since the inception of reform. These invoke fear in consumers and families, discourage the workers and demoralize our public and private partners (hospitals, jails, schools and providers), all of whom are critical to the success of our service delivery system.
The N.C. Council of Community MH/DD/SA Programs, representing 21 of 25 Local Management Entities, wants the General Assembly and state leadership to build upon the system's strengths to restore and fortify the public service safety net. LMEs are an integral part of the solution.
State leaders must refocus on the promising basic tenets and values that were intended to be the hallmarks of reform: access to quality community-based services, consumer choice, public and private partnership, person-centeredness, decreased reliance upon state psychiatric hospitals and local public governance. Any efforts to further destabilize the system by weakening the local public safety net (LMEs) should be thwarted.
Yvonne Copeland, Executive director, NC Council of Community MH/DD/SA Programs, Raleigh