The Future Of Mental Health In Mendocino County — A Community Meeting
On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in Mendocino will host a public meeting addressing mental health challenges. The guest speaker will be Sheriff Tom Allman. The program will be held at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center Glenn Miller conference room, 275 Hospital Drive, Ukiah from 6:30 to 8pm.
The challenges of mental health are complex. A mental health challenge can be a disease or condition affecting the brain that influences the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and/or relates to others and to his or her surroundings. Although the exact cause of most conditions is not known it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental factors. One thing is for sure — they are not the result of personal weakness, a character defect or poor upbringing, and recovery from a mental challenge is not simply a matter of will and self-discipline. However, providing mental health services to those in need can also be a challenge.
Too often prejudice and stigma hamper the development of mental health policies and these are reflected in a lack of respect for the human rights of mentally ill people, the low status of the services provided and a lack of support given to work for mental health. Yet one in four individuals will be affected by mental health issues in their lifetime. People are constantly exposed to harmful stress that leads to an increase in anxiety and depression, alcohol and other substance abuse disorders, violent and suicidal behavior. These social causes of mental health problems are manifold and can be induced or reinforced in many different settings. Marginalized and vulnerable groups — such as victimized populations, the unemployed, those with disabilities or who are already experiencing mental health problems — can be at particular risk.
Unfortunately there are very few resources to address these issues and too many times our jails inadvertently become the default mental institutions in our communities.
Many residents of Mendocino County can attest to the tragedy of this lack of services.
Sheriff Tom Allman has had personal as well as professional experience with the challenges of mental health issues. He can speak well to the hope of advancing our county out of the darkness of limited services to the light of a caring, supportive community.
All people interested in the future of mental health services in Mendocino County are invited to attend. For more information call Jan McGourty at 468-8632 or Donna Moschetti at 391-6867.