Families Join Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to Support Improvements in Mental Health Care in Maryland

 
Baltimore, MD (December 10, 2014) – Families of individuals with serious mental illness joined state health leaders to recommend today that the state implement three proposals to improve treatment for the severely mentally ill in Maryland.
Th​e first proposal would create an outpatient civil commitment program to help severely mentally ill individuals pursue stable lives. Maryland is currently one of just five states to lack such a program.
 
“Outpatient civil commitment provides the option of outpatient treatment to a small, clearly defined population when it is the least-restrictive alternative to maintain an individual’s health and safety,” stated Jessica Honke, Policy and Advocacy Director of NAMI Maryland. “Many individuals with serious mental illness and their families have been in crisis for years because there is no outpatient treatment option for those who refuse voluntary treatment. Without this alternative the small, high-risk subset of people will be served by emergency rooms, hospitals, jails and prisons, or will suffer the outcomes of non-treatment: homelessness, criminalization, victimization, suicide or violence.”
 
“Our goal is to help individuals with severe mental illness receive treatment and end the debilitating cycle of hospitalizations, homelessness and incarcerations,” said Dr. Gayle M. Jordan-Randolph, Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
 
An outpatient civil commitment law involves mandatory monitoring and participation in clinically approved treatment that often includes the use of psychotropic medications, along with other support services, for individuals who repeatedly have been hospitalized and who, despite voluntary treatment opportunities, have struggled in the community. The program is intended as a time-limited intervention to support recovery from illness, to reduce the long-term impact of incomplete or interrupted mental health treatment, to increase quality of the life and to reduce the arrest/re-arrest rates in people suffering from severe mental illness.
 
Marylanders with adult children grappling with severe mental illness today urged the state to adopt outpatient civil commitment. Judith Kerner-McIver spoke of having to transport her adult son to Pennsylvania, where outpatient civil commitment treatment has helped her son regain stability and employment. Susan Kneller spoke of her son’s illness and how she fears a lack of treatment will result in negative interactions with law enforcement. And H. Giles Knight spoke of his son’s inability to lead a stable, productive life within Maryland’s current voluntary-only, outpatient treatment framework. 
 
The second proposal would improve access to such voluntary community-based services as assertive community treatment, rental subsidies and crisis services – including services that are readily accessible to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Maryland has long been a national leader in providing quality, community-based care to individuals with mental illness. Through a number of key initiatives in the past 20 years, the state has expanded access to community- and evidence-based mental health treatment, has developed innovative services and has expanded access to crisis services, supportive services and housing. As a result of these efforts, an overwhelming majority of individuals with mental illness have improved access to care, enabling them to live fulfilling and productive lives in the community. This proposal would build upon previous successes in the state and would help ensure that services remain accessible to those most in need.
 
The final proposal would define dangerousness in regulation and would provide comprehensive training around the dangerousness standard. Due to variances in how the dangerousness standard is interpreted, there is often uncertainty about whether an individual meets the criteria for involuntary hospitalization. However, by defining dangerousness and providing training to health care providers, this proposal will promote a more consistent application of the standard throughout the health care system.
 
These recommendations are further detailed in the workgroup report. The report, its appendices and other related documents can be viewed at the DHMH website under "Final Report” at http://dhmh.maryland.gov/bhd/SitePages/Outpatient%20Services%20Programs%20Stakeholder%20Workgroup.aspx.
 

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SNOW HILL, Md. – The Worcester County Health Department urges all residents age 6 months and older, including pregnant women and those with medical conditions, to be vaccinated for the 2018-2019 seasonal flu. People age 65 years and older have a choice of two flu vaccines available to them at the Worcester County Health Department. They can choose to receive a regular flu vaccine or a high dose flu vaccine which may result in a stronger immune response against the flu.

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This bacterium is found in the nose, throat and mouth of an infected person, and can be easily spread. Pertussis can occur at any age, but often causes serious problems in babies, and is usually milder in older children and adults. Children who are too young to be fully vaccinated and those that have not received all their vaccinations are at highest risk for severe illness and complications. Complications of pertussis can include pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), seizures, and other physical and medical outcomes associated with a severe cough.

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Our new Just Walk Worcester website has information on local parks, walking tips, and videos of trails in our area. If you like to walk, check it out! Click the image below to see the new site. 

 

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Snow Hill, MD- Worcester County Health Department will launch “Just Walk Worcester” on October 12. This new website will be an inclusive resource for finding places to walk and explore no matter where you are in the county. The site features maps of all local parks and trails as well as walking tips, helpful videos, and details about each area including the length of trails, if there are any fees and if the spot is pet-friendly. Residents can view drone footage of each trail, allowing walkers to know the ins and outs of the path before they even lace up their shoes.

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