DRM Serves on Mental Health Working Group

Posted on June 18, 2020

by Kevin Voyvodich, Esq.

In 2019 DRM was appointed a member of the legislatively-mandated Mental Health Working group. I had the pleasure to be the appointed member from DRM on that group. In the first legislative session of 2019 Senator Cathy Breen presented a bill in the Maine Legislature that would create this working group. In the summer of 2019 we began meeting and the attached report was completed in January of 2020. According to the bill that became law, the working group directed to “review the State's mental health system and propose a mental health plan for the State.”

DRM would attend the 5 meetings of the working group with the goal of ensuring any recommendations were in line with protecting the rights of consumers of mental health services and promoting meaningful involvement of consumers in the planning for the mental health system. The attached report contains a number of recommendation and key themes for ways that the group thought the delivery of services could be improved and how the system as a whole could better meet the needs of individuals.

The key themes in discussion of the group resulted in recommendations being made in the areas of:

  • Resources
  • Management
  • Workforce
  • Housing
  • Crisis Services
  • Communication/Coordination
The final report recommendations represent consensus among a broad group of stakeholders. From my perspective it was incredibly positive to have these diverse interests in the room discussing the issues, and coming to some agreements about changes that could be made for the better. While there is much work left to be done, consumers and advocates at the meeting worked together to make sure there was at least discussion on need for such things as increased inclusion of peers in the mental health system, the need for an improved crisis system, and the critical need for increased availability of housing.

Final Report

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