Mental Health Update 3/20/14

IMPACT Mental Health Initiative

Team Assembly Update 3/20/14

 After meeting with 17 local care providers and mental health organizations, our research committee has defined a major gap in mental health care in our region:

We know of 376 students in our public schools seriously considered suicide last year. While not all of these kids need psychiatric help, those who do wait an average of 3 months to see a psychiatrist at Region Ten; during this wait their crises continue.

 Take a second to imagine what that must be like. You’ve recognized that something is wrong. You’ve overcome the major hurdle of admitting your child needs help, medication even…. And you’re told to wait for three months.

We know that Region Ten offers only 15 hours of psychiatric care each week for their entire service area that spans Green, Louisa, Fluvanna Nelson and Albemarle Counties.

 In our research meeting with Region Ten just last week we learned that  in Albemarle, there are only nine hours offered. These hours are only offered once a week from 9-12 on Friday morning. That is the only window available.

We are not going to accept that the current situation is the best that our community can do. We know that our kids who are vulnerable and in need of help deserve better. Much better.

Our goal in the short-term is to reduce this wait time. The details of how this might happen and whom we will hold accountable to it will be determined at our next research committee meeting on April 3rd.This short-term solution will be announced at the Rally on April 7th. Make sure you are there to hear it for yourself!

We know that the long wait time to be seen by a psychiatrist is due in large part to a nation-wide shortage of psychiatrists; 46% of psychiatrists are 55 or older and will likely be retiring in the next decade.

Last week, research committee members met with Delegate David Toscano to raise the issue for him, and to find out how we might make this psychiatric shortage a priority in the long run.

He sees this as a major problem and would gladly sponsor legislation to address it. In order for this to happen, IMPACT would need to adopt a long-term vision for this particular initiative. We are planning on meeting with Delegates Landes and Bell in the coming weeks.

These options will also be explored at the next research committee meeting on April 3rd.

No matter what happens, it is going to take some real people power to make this problem a priority for our community. Mental health is a problem that often times goes unaddressed- it’s scary to talk about. There’s a stigma attached to it.

Think of the significance of the action. 2,000 people publicly acknowledging the struggle of, and standing in solidarity with those who suffer from mental illness. It is so important that we work hard these next 6 weeks to make sure that we do not let them down. How many people are you bringing to stand with us?