Morning Zen

Eighteenth Annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum

May 24, 2013

This week Morning Zen features a review of the eighteenth annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum by CMHNetwork Advisory Council member Brigitte Manteuffel. To say that the forum had some wow power would be an understatement. The release of the CDC report on children’s mental health and the surprise visit by Patrick Kennedy were only two of the many quality-laden occurrences at the meeting. Here is Brigitte’s synopsis of events:

Building Quality Behavioral Health Community Services and Supports for All Georgians
The Eighteenth Annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum celebrated the public release of CDC’s report, Children’s Mental Health MMWR Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States, 2005–2011.  The report, which for the first time brings together national children’s mental statistics from multiple national surveys conducted across four agencies (CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA, NIMH), provides a concise picture of child mental health data in a single document.

Key meeting themes addressed

  • Prioritizing children’s mental health.
  • Mental health is public health.
  • Stigma reduction – changing laws and policies, and hearts and minds – Watch for the national dialogue on mental health later this year. This dialogue, requested by President Obama, is led by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. SAMHSA and the Department of Education are working together on launching the national dialogue. Participate in the dialogue in your communities!
  • Early identification, screening and intervention – catching symptoms and illnesses early is key to a better service system.
  • Need for data to understand need for services, and to plan, monitor outcomes and revise interventions.
  • ACA and parity provide opportunities for prevention, increased access to care, increased mental health care, detection and treatment.

Good mental health is essential to overall health 
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden’s keynote and dialogue with Carter Center Mental Health Program Director, Thomas Borneman, provided context for the report and future directions. Dr. Frieden emphasized the critical need for early identification, intervention, treatment and prevention to reduce disease burden; integration of behavioral health and physical health; increased awareness and dialogue on mental health; and the importance of data.

  • Mental health rises to the top of disease burden, yet only half of those with mental health concerns are recognized, and only half of those recognized are adequately treated.
  • Bring mental illness into physical health perception. All practitioners need to address mental health; mental health providers need to be aware of physical health. 
  • Increase awareness. Mainstream attention to mental health. Mental health problems are common and treatable and affect everyone.
  • National dialogue. Dialogue on mental health is needed at multiple levels, not just the policy level. Parents need to talk to their pediatricians about issues. Teens need to talk to adults and peers. Health professionals need greater awareness and understanding.
  • Early Intervention. Resilience can be increased by early identification and intervention.
  • Data are transformational. Surveillance provides for the systematic collection of information and dissemination to populations that need the information. Surveillance provides an objective measure that can be used to plan, to assess whether programs are working or not, and to defend programs that work. 

3 key areas for prevention were identified:

  •  Importance of early childhood experiences. Patterns are set early and are hard to undo. Promote healthy development in children so that all children can reach their full potential.
  • Reduction in alcohol use by mothers, families and teens would have a major impact.
  • Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug for prevention of disease, including depression.

True to the focus on Georgia in this annual forum, a panel of experts led by CDC’s Ruth Perou, who facilitated the preparation of the report, provided comparison of the national statistics to Georgia’s and shared use of data at CDC and in Georgia to improve children’s mental health services in the community, to improve school climate (Check out the Georgia Student Health Survey II and report), and to address cultural and linguistic competence (CETPA).  Congratulations, Ruth and colleagues for providing us with a useful resource to better understand child and adolescent mental health and to work to improve services. .  The report provides a rich resource for asking questions about children’s mental health statistics. Questions such as, “Why is ADHD the most common diagnosis?”  and “What are more mental health problems observed among boys?”  and “What do these data tell us about the mental health service needs of diverse populations?”  and “What else do we need to know to understand these statistics?”

Former Representative Patrick Kennedy made a “mystery guest” appearance at lunchtime. Demonstrating his commitment to stigma elimination, Kennedy introduced himself as in recovery from substance abuse and mental illness. A staunch supporter of health care reform, Kennedy urged meeting attendees to assure that providers not take the place of consumers in the debates surrounding implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA provides the opportunity to rewrite the rules of health care and patients need to be number one as States implement. 

Implementation of the Georgia Department of Justice Settlement Agreement is underway. Kudos to Georgia’s Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner, Frank Berry, for recognizing the broader opportunity for systems change provided by the settlement agreement.

The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program is looking toward future programming in child and adolescent mental health services.

Noteworthy reports for Network faithful to check out

Note: The 29th Rosalyn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy on November 7 & 8, 2013 will focus on the Affordable Care Act. More details on this as they emerge.

brigitteBrigitte Manteuffel, PhD, brings to the Children’s Mental Health Network’s Advisory Board extensive expertise in children’s mental health services research. As the former principal investigator for the national evaluation of the Children’s Mental Health Initiative (CMHI) at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over the past 14 years she examined the implementation and outcomes of systems of care in over 150 communities at the State, county, city, and tribal levels. Before her work with the CMHI national evaluation, Dr. Manteuffel conducted studies at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing on HIV prevention among youth and young adults, fatigue and cancer stressors in children, epilepsy self management, and the alleviation of nausea in pregnancy. She has contributed to studies of youth suicide and violence prevention, child traumatic stress treatment, motivational interviewing to reduce risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and HIV prevention and treatment costs and outcomes. Her projects in the US and Africa have been funded by NIMH, CDC, ASPE, the World Bank, and the UK Department for International Development. Dr. Manteuffel received her doctorate from Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts where she focused her studies on depth psychology, anthropology and semiotics to examine the role of hypnotic states in healing. In addition to over 50 publications and over 100 presentations, she has contributed to over 150 briefs and reports, including annual reports to Congress and Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Brief Reports. In 2012, Dr. Manteuffel was one of two recipients of the Outstanding Community Partner Award given by the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of South Florida. Dr. Manteuffel is committed to improving the access, quality, evidence base, and cost efficiency of health services, especially mental health and substance use services for children, youth and young adults.

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