WMU: AB 1045 Considers Custody of Homeless, Community Health Workers Prevent Mental Health Rearrests

WMU: AB 1045 Considers Custody of Homeless, Community Health Workers Prevent Mental Health Rearrests

The Weekly MashUp is a recurring segment on Hear Me Out, the Young Minds Blog, highlighting the most pertinent local and national news for children’s mental health advocates. If you haven’t already, sign up to be on our email list to get the Weekly MashUp delivered to your inbox each week!

Announcements:

Thank you for joining us for Mental Health Awareness Month in May! For us, May has been a month of learning, exchange, and renewed commitment to our goals of improving access to quality mental health care for young people and their families.

We also got a chance to share our work with our community, including our newly released Katie A. Fact Sheet and presentations that we did at the 2018 United State of Women Summit, the 2018 CMHACY (California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth) Conference, and this weekend the 2018 NAMI California Conference.

We hope you’ll stay tuned and engaged for the fight we have before us — the fight to sustain and protect youth mental health. For more info on the groups we’re engaging in this work, check out our transition-age youth advocacy, parents and caregivers’ advocacy, and young women’s advocacy.

News:

California considers taking custody of its homeless
The Economist – 5.31.18

Legislation currently up for consideration will finally address the challenges posed by the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a 1967 bill then-governor Ronald Reagan signed in order to close asylums across the state.

The legislation in question, AB 1045, will make it easier to support people that are homeless and living with a mental health or substance abuse challenge. The bill plans to do so by authorizing a practice called “conservatorship,” in which a judge appoints a person or institution to look after someone who is believed to be unable to care for themselves.

Under current California law, authorities are allowed to confine those who are “gravely disabled” for 72 hours, then 2 weeks more, and then an additional month if needed. However, if they show “minimal competence,” performing basic tasks such as finding food, they are released. Many of them relapse, however, demonstrating the need for more nuanced care.

AB 1045 marks a shift in understanding about how best to care for homeless people with mental health or substance abuse challenges. However, it raises some ethical questions about the autonomy of the homeless people in question. Public opinion may ultimately decide whether AB 1045 is passed, and an ethical and effective conservatorship model developed.

Mobile Team, Hotline to Replace Police Response in Foster Youth Crises
Chronicle for Social Change – 5.23.18

Community health workers, many of them former prisoners, working to help other former prisoners achieve — and maintain — mental wellness. This new program, expanding in California and North Carolina, could be the key to helping prisoners successfully transition (and stay) out of incarceration. Los Angeles County plans to hire 220 of these community health workers, trained in health education and case management, by the end of the year.

“We’ve always known incarceration is bad for health,” said Leah G. Pope, director of the substance use and mental health program at the Vera Institute of Justice, a research and advocacy group. “But in an age of increasing attention to justice reform and health care reform, the two are increasingly connected.”

After being released from prison, individuals often develop mental health and substance abuse challenges that can function to land them back in institutions. This is called recidivism — when parolees, those who have been released after a stay in prison, are rearrested for the same or for a different crime. However, many people and especially people of color are arrested just for having a visible mental health challenge or substance abuse challenge.

This cycle of rearrest and the ensuing exacerbation of mental health challenges not only makes it hard on former prisoners’ wellness, but also leads to overpopulation in prison facilities. Having support through the process of transitioning out, especially from others who have been through the harrowing experience of prison, sets parolees up for success.

Read more about the Transitions Clinic Network, founded in 2006 in Bayview-Hunters Point, San Francisco.

More Stories:

Opinion: Mental Health Awareness Takes More Than Just One Month
Human Rights Campaign — 5.24.18

Can parents deny their teens treatment?
San Francisco Chronicle — 5.31.18

New study on hospital-based quality measures for child mental health
American Academy of Peditatrics — 5.31.18

Mental health narratives matter for marginalized young people
Futurity — 5.30.18

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Young Minds Advocacy
Posted by the Editors of Hear Me Out.