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: 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 of the overall of our priorities as a state. Parents and families still maintain the primary responsibility for ensuring healthy and safe environments that are crucial to child and youth development. However, many parents and families lack adequate support systems and financial and emotional resources to carry out this task. In a rapidly changing and demanding society where children are increasingly influenced by peers, media, technology, and negative public images, it is unrealistic to expect that even the average American family is capable of creating a thriving environment without any reliance on external formal and informal support systems in place. The state must require minimum standards to ensure mental wellness and safety in environments including schools, childcare, child welfare and any arena that the state has authority.

ABUSE AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN

Abused and neglected children are the state's most vulnerable, and overwhelmingly impacted by the Indiana Department of Child Services. Amidst significant concern for lack of effectiveness in the realm of child protection and prevention of abuse, DCS is often-times the recipient of a myriad of complaints, including a rising child fatality rate, allegations that abuse hotline calls were not effectively responded to, underfunding of service providers, lack of oversight of DCS administration and DCS's returning allocated funds to the State. MHAI supports reforms that provide for mental health treatment and safety.

CHILDREN’S EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

The prevalence of mental illness, addiction and serious emotional disorders in children and youth under age 18 is oftentimes not adequately or appropriately diagnosed. At the same time, the efficacy of early treatment for mental illness, addiction and serious emotional disorders is proven and the benefits have been demonstrated.

Mental Health America of Indiana supports and will work to guide and create, op-portunities for systematic, standardized and regular screening of children for mental illness, addiction and serious emotional disorders and youth in any and all appropri-ate settings including but not limited to public and private schools; child welfare; ju-venile courts; and primary care settings. Any screening program must:

  • ensure that only qualified personnel conduct the screening and assessment, and develop the treatment program;
  • ensure that records of the screening, assessment and treatment are kept confi-dential in accordance with current privacy standards for these types of records; and
  • prohibit discrimination based on the screening, assessment and treatment.
  • require active parental consent
  • not be used as an assessment


MHAI supports all efforts to avoid stigmatization as well as the parent’s right to opt out. Once an illness is identified, treatment must also be made available.

SECLUSION AND RESTRAINT

Each year in the Indiana, public school personnel are regularly using restraint and seclusion to control student behavior. In a survey of approximately 1351 (67%) of Indiana’s public schools by the U.S. Department of Education, Indiana schools re-ported using mechanical restraints, seclusion or physical restraints 1650 times dur-ing the for the 2009-10 school year. Thus in Indiana in every school day on average at least nine children were being subjected to the use of mechanical restraints, seclu-sion or physical restraints.

As a result of the widely recognized risks of restraint and seclusion use, Indiana passed a statewide statute and is developing regulations and policies governing the use of mechanical restraints, seclusion or physical restraint in the public school set-ting.

MHAI supported the legislation and is a member of the Seclusion and Restraint Commission that is developing regulations, policies and guidelines that are uniform and statewide.

BULLYING

Children or adults who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Children who are bullied are more likely to experience depres-sion and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood. Bullying can also lead to health complaints and de-creased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school. A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

Mental Health America continues to support legislative action and implementation to reduce bullying among children and adults.

TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE

Trauma is a near universal experience of individuals with behavioral health disor-ders. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, 55%--99% of women in substance use treatment and 85%--95% of women in the public mental health system report a history of trauma, with the abuse most commonly having occurred in childhood. An individual’s experience of trauma impacts every area of human functioning—physical, mental, behavioral, so-cial, and spiritual. The economic costs of untreated trauma-related alcohol and drug abuse alone were estimated at $161 billion in 2000. The human costs are incalcula-ble.

Mental Health America recognizes that trauma is treatable and supports efforts to expand the use of evidence-based models of care.

PRIORITY LEVEL: II

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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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