Thanks to everyone who attended our September 6th League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley Mental Health Forum. As promised, we are providing access to the Governor’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Council’s recommendations and a summary of the Interim Finance Committee’s funding of some of these recommendations.
Visit our website www.lwvlasvegasvalley.org and click on Legislative Priorities in the top menu bar to download each document.
The Council’s recommendations emphasize utilizing current resources more effectively through reforms of policies, laws, and governing structures, as well as adding more resources to our mental health system. The recommendations make it abundantly clear that relying on emergency rooms and the prison system to manage mental health patients is both ineffective and highly wasteful. And the cost of not striving for better mental health outcomes inflicts painful costs not only on sufferers, but also on the community as a whole.
Assemblywoman and Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick addressed our meeting and offered important insights on mental health priorities for the next legislative session. She stressed the need for regional approaches that will allow each county/city to craft strategies best suited to local issues. Speaker Kirkpatrick noted that metropolitan areas have different needs than rural areas, necessitating different strategies. She also stressed the importance of providing housing options. Currently, stabilized patients often have no housing resources available, which then lead to recurrences of hospitalization or incarceration. The lack of an address also hinders patients being able to receive Medicaid benefits to cover vital treatment.
Where are we going from here? League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley is committed to improving mental health outcomes; therefore we aren’t stopping with this meeting. We plan to see these recommendations through to passage as funded laws. Right now we are monitoring Bill Draft Requests for the 2015 legislative session and will be following all submitted bills once the legislative session begins on February 2, 2015. As we get closer to that date we will post a list of mental health bills on our website and will begin tracking legislation through our blog. If you are as committed to getting something done as we are, you can sign up to receive blog updates via email at: http://lwvlvvblog.org/
We are contemplating doing another informational meeting on the state budgeting process in December and our Guide to Citizen Advocacy workshop will take place in January, so stay tuned!!
President League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley