2017 MHAI Public Policy Agenda

ISSUE: ACCESS TO MEDICATIONS for MENTAL HEALTH and SUBSTANCE ABUSE

STATEMENT:  Access to medications is critical for people with serious mental illness and addiction. Due to research in the last decade, new medications...
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ISSUE: FORENSIC ISSUES

STATEMENT:  Mental health, addictions, as well as individuals with co-occurring developmental disabilities often fall through the cracks in our criminal...
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ISSUE: OPIOID TREATMENT

STATEMENT:  Indiana, along with the rest of the nation, is experiencing a public health crisis. Prescription drug abuse has been declared an epidemic...
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ISSUE: MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION FUNDING

STATEMENT: By all accounts, there are many more persons in need of services from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction up to 200% of poverty level,...
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ISSUE: SMOKEFREE AIR AND CIGARETTE TAX

STATEMENT: The incidence of smoking among those with mental illness and addictive disorders far ex-ceeds the rates of the overall population. Secondhand smoke...
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ISSUE: UNDERAGE DRINKING

STATEMENT: More than a quarter of the American population who are too young to drink are doing so anyway according to a new report issued today by the Substance...
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ISSUE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

STATEMENT: Mental Health America believes that all individuals and families should have access to a broad scope of medically appropriate, evidence-based interventions...
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ISSUE: SUICIDE PREVENTION

STATEMENT: Each year in the U.S., thousands of Americans commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth...
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ISSUE: MARRIAGE EQUALITY

STATEMENT: Studies have shown that stigmatization and marginalization that is fostered by legal and so-cial barriers to equality can have mental health...
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ISSUE: PERINATAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE

STATEMENT: While recognizing the potential harmful effects of perinatal exposure to alcohol, opioids, and other drugs including nicotine on the health...
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ISSUE: ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES FOR VETERANS

STATEMENT: Indiana has the fourth largest number of National Guard members in the country. A large number of these individuals, reservists, and other...
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ISSUE: CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

STATEMENT: The statistics describing the health, mental health, and safety issues affecting today's youths are concerning, yet represent a minute image...
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ISSUE: MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

STATEMENT: The mental health and addiction workforce has long been plagued by shortages, high turn-over, and a lack of diversity. There is certainly...
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ISSUE: MENTAL HEALTH HOSPITALS

STATEMENT: Indiana’s commitment to the provision of mental health care is stated in the Constitution. This commitment has historically taken the form...
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ISSUE: DEATH PENALTY and PEOPLE with MENTAL ILLNESS

STATEMENT: The process of determining guilt and imposing sentence is necessarily more complex for individuals with mental illness. A high standard of...
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ISSUE: FORENSIC ISSUES

STATEMENT:  Mental health, addictions, as well as individuals with co-occurring developmental disabilities often fall through the cracks in our criminal justice system. Our correction facilities are often not appropriate for persons with a mental illness or addictive disorders. Diversion, when appropriate, may avoid the criminalization of mental illness and addictions and the resulting labeling that often creates barriers to housing, employment, and the ability to be a productive member of society.

MHAI will advocate for a comprehensive change in our system so as to provide for a continuum of mental health and addictions treatment for patients charged with a misdemeanor or felony, both juveniles and adults. The continuum must include: a statewide pre-& post-diversion program with treatment for individuals, problem-solving courts, including mental health and drug courts, a statewide community corrections program with a mental health and addiction treatment component; re-entry programs, including treatment, employment, and sealing criminal records from the public when appropriate; as well as a forensic facility designed to treat forensic patients that includes access to appropriate mental health and ad-diction medications. Police and correction officers must receive adequate mental health and addiction education and programming. Access to funding through Medicaid and other sources when permitted must be made available to ensure access to treatment through DMHA certified community-based care providers.

ARREST AND CONVICTION ADMISSIONS

An overcrowding and an ever-expanding Department of Corrections budget is due in large part to offenders who recycle back through the system or recidivate. One of the main predictors of whether or not an ex offender will return to prison is his or her ability to get a job. Non-violent alcohol and other drug offenders often face life long barriers to securing employment due to their criminal histories. MHAI will work to improve legislation that will eliminate the barriers associated with crim-inal histories that prevent ex offenders from securing employment.

AUTISM and INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder or an intellectual disability, like those with mental illness or substance abuse, should be permitted to participate in a foren-sic diversion program. Further, a criminal court should be permitted to appoint a court appointed special advocate to assist a person with Autism or an intellectual disability who is charged with a criminal offense. MHAI will support alternatives to incarceration for persons with disabilities.

 

PRIORITY LEVEL: I

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The Third House, LLC

The Third House, a full service government affairs firm, represents Mental Health America of Indiana at the Indiana General Assembly where Stephen C. McCaffrey serves as Principal.

The Third House specializes in health policy, assisting patients, providers, professionals, not-for-profits and pharmaceutical companies to collaborate with other stakeholders to improve access to healthcare in public health and criminal justice settings. The Third House attempts to collectively mobilize The Third House clients to ensure that all patients have access to appropriate treatment options in a manner that is patient-focused and transparent.

The Third House provides services to MHAI that include legislative and regulatory monitoring, issue management, research, and legislative and administrative lobbying.  All The Third House clients receiving lobbying services are registered with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission at: https://www.in.gov/ilrc/.

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