A two-part series by Wisconsin State Journal reporter David Wahlberg delves into the need for jail diversion programs and treatment options in Dane County. He also reports on assessments of the services provided by Strategic Behavioral Health in nearby Green Bay. SHB announced that it will open a hospital with crisis restoration beds in Madison.
NAMI-Dane is offering a meeting with a SBH representative who will answer questions about plans for Madison. Here is the information.
“Let’s Talk About It” Program Series
Please join us for our February Program Meeting to learn more about Strategic Behavioral Health (SBH) and the new psychiatric hospital planned in Dane County. This meeting has a Q&A format, where panelist Bret Morschauser – clinical liaison with Willowcreek Behavioral Health in Green Bay (a subsidiary of SBH) – will answer questions and comments from the audience.
February 22, 2018
United Way Building, Evjue A & B
2059 Atwood Ave.
Free event but registration is appreciated.
Call 608-249-7188 to let us know you’ll be there!
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for up to $52 million in grants under its Treatment for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness program. The money will be used to help local service providers offer behavioral health and recovery support services to people experiencing homelessness.
The purpose of this program is to support the expansion of behavioral health care for people experiencing homelessness along with a serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance. Grantees will also offer treatment for substance use disorders as needed.
SAMHSA expects to make as many as 16 grants of up to $500,000 or $1 million annually, depending on the grantee. The grants will be awarded for up to five years and are subject to availability of funds.
Counties, other governmental entities, community organizations, and colleges and universities are eligible to apply.
Click here for the grant announcement.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will award more than $13 million in grants to establish or expand programs that divert adults with a serious mental illness or a co-occurring (mental and substance use) disorder from the criminal justice system to community-based services prior to arrest and booking. Special consideration will be given to applicants serving veterans.
County governments and other governmental entities are eligible for the grants. Click here for grant announcement.
An editorial in the Racine Journal supports legislation that would provide a grant program for mental health crisis restoration centers. The bills would also allow law officers to take people with acute psychiatric needs to the closest mental health institute in the state.
The authors point out that although access to psychiatric care would be more quickly available in some parts of the state with passage of the bills, residents in the Racine area still would have to travel at least two hours for help. Therefore, they support the funding of regional crisis centers that would be situated at hospitals. Click here to read the editorial. Here is an excerpt.
“So the aspect that has us enthusiastic is the proposed grants for developing regional mental health crisis centers. Given all of the facilities operated by Ascension, Aurora and United Hospital System in the Racine-Kenosha area, we see no reason why one of the area facilities couldn’t obtain a grant and establish itself as a regional center.
We want our law officers on duty within Racine County, not taking 4-plus hours out of a shift to transport someone in need of mental health care to a state-mandated facility. Especially when a facility within 40 miles of the station could be established as a regional destination for such patients.”
The bills (SB 681/AB 815) were introduced by Republican and Democratic legislators and by members from Dane County and the center of the state. Among its supporters are: the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association; the League of Wisconsin Municipalities; the Dane County government; the Dane County Cities and Villages Association, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
See “Bipartisan Support for Better Access to Mental Health Institutes” on this blog for background on the legislation.
UPDATE: Local criminal justice and other officials in St. Croix also reported problems because of the lack of crisis restoration centers. Here is what they told Attorney General Schimel.
“Yehlik and others made clear to Schimel that it does agencies in western Wisconsin no good to open more beds on the other side of the state.
North Hudson Police Chief Mark Richert said funding issues make local hospitals hesitant to establish such facilities in western Wisconsin. That, Schimel said, is because of reimbursement issues.
But, he noted, law enforcement also isn’t getting reimbursed for the cost of transports to the state’s Winnebago Mental Health Institute, which he said can exceed $1,000. St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said his office performed 47 such transports to Winnebago last year.”
Schimel later called the issue “a gigantic drain on county and local budgets.”
The above comments come from the River Falls Journal. Click here to read the full article.
A bipartisan group of legislators is proposing a solution to problems posed by the state’s decision in 2014 to limit access to Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison to criminal cases. As a result of that decision, two police officers must transport a person in a psychotic or seriously disturbed state to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute near Oshkosh.
The trip from Madison takes two hours each way. It is a frightening and damaging trip for the person locked in a police car and a costly one for city and county governments.
From 2014 to 2016, transports to Winnebago from Dane County cost more than $330,000, including nearly $151,000 for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and nearly $61,000 for the Madison Police Department, according to the Dane County Chiefs of Police Association.
The bill would allow law enforcement to take individuals to be detained for “emergency detention or involuntary commitment” to the most convenient mental health institute. It has bipartisan support because counties and individuals throughout the state have suffered as a result of the state’s 2014 ruling.
The bill also proposes a program that would provide grants for hospitals for regional mental health crisis centers. The grants would be funded in the 2019-21 legislative session.
Click here to read the proposed legislation.
David Wahlberg reports on the history of the problem and reaction by local officials in “Bill would restore mental health crisis detentions at Mendota.”
In “Crisis Cops,” Abigail Becker offers insights from the police about the Mendota restrictions.
Military veterans Connie Walker and her son Michael Segich fought battles that neither had anticipated.
In 2003, Connie retired as a Navy Captain after 23 years of service. At about the same time, her son returned from Army service in Iraq. Back at home Michael would wake up screaming and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.
Mother and son struggled together to find mental health treatment and services that would enable him to regain a sense of stability and independence. Now, Michael lives in his own apartment and holds a job at Metcalfe’s in Hilldale as a grocery bagger. But, his journey included hospitalizations, failed medications and treatment, and an unhappy spell at a group home.
Michael told reporter David Wahlberg, “If I didn’t have my mom or the other people advocating for me, I could very well be homeless.”
Daniel Zimmerman, secretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, named Connie the Woman Veteran of the Year for her “tireless advocacy for veterans.” She developed and will lead Homefront, a series of six classes to be offered at NAMI-Dane. In the series, Connie will use what she learned as Michael’s advocate to help veterans with mental illness, their families, and caregivers.
Click here for more information about Homefront and a registration form.
For more information about Connie and Michael, read David Wahlberg’s article “Retired Navy Captain Helps Son and other Veterans with Mental Illness.”
Prison reform is catching on. According to testimony before the Legislative Study Committee on Reducing Recidivism, 18 states enacted “big and comprehensive reform” and 15 states enacted “significant reform” during the last decade. Wisconsin was the only state to move backwards.
Residents in red, blue, and purple states discovered that prison reform can cut the crime rate, as well as benefit the taxpayers. In Minnesota, for example, the crime rate decreased by 6 percent from 2009 to 2014, while Wisconsin’s rate increased 12 percent. In FY 2013, state and local governments in our state spent $259 per capita on corrections and Minnesota spent $163.
We can take advantage of lessons learned and avoid costly prison expansion.
Join State Representative Evan Goyke, gubernatorial candidates, and civil rights leaders for a discussion of a key element of reform: the state’s revocation policy. WISDOM, a faith-based state organization, is sponsoring the forum on January 17, from 12:00 to 2:00 at Grace Episcopal Church, 116 W. Washington Ave. in Madison.
More than 4,500 people are in Wisconsin prisons for revocation without a new conviction. Each year, thousands of others are held in county jails or the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility waiting investigation of alleged rule violations. Other states have moved to more just and economically efficient policies.
Rep. Goyke is introducing three bills based on successful reforms in other states. Click here for his press release and background information.