By BOBBY WARREN Staff Writer Published: October 11, 2016 4:00 AM on http://www.the-daily-record.com/local%20news/2016/10/11/holmes-and-wayn…
WOOSTER -- Monday was World Mental Health Day, but for the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Wayne & Holmes Counties and its funded partners, every day is mental health day.
Deputy Director Robert Smedley shared a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?"
The MHRB and its funded partner agencies, like OneEighty, The Counseling Center, Anazao Community Partners, Catholic Charities and NAMI Wayne and Holmes Counties, are providing recovery leadership to others in an effort to work together to answer King's question, Smedley said.
Recovery advocacy is important, Executive Director Judy Wortham Wood said before presenting David Noble and his family with a Shining Light Award. While people generally support recovery efforts, not a lot of people want to fund recovery and addiction treatment.
In recent years, the agency has raised awareness about the importance of recovery, and keynote speaker Dr. Michael Flaherty, a psychologist from the Pittsburgh area, laid out a foundation for how a recovery-oriented system of care (ROSC) could be built here. Creating this kind of system has as an underlying concept mental illness and addiction need to be treated as chronic diseases.
Flaherty covered a wide spectrum of issues dealing with recovery in his presentation. The demands of health care today include greater focus on preventing illness and promoting wellness, increasing access to care, coordinating and integrating care and treatment, increased focus on positive outcomes and shrinking budgets, Flaherty said.
Flaherty encouraged area leaders to build a system involving all players and developing a community-based model for population health in what he called "braiding" services together.
Before managed care comes, Flaherty said there should be a community plan in place. The message needs to be focused on how the managed care organization fits into the local plan and not how the local plan fits into the MCO. "Tell them, you are not here to manage their money, but to provide health, wellness and recovery," he said.
The likelihood is the MCO will want to pay a fee for service or per house, but that is not a good thing, Flaherty said. What the community needs to know is a person getting better? It will be important to have outcomes measured and monitored.
Moving forward, people will hear more about "population health," Flaherty said.
This is reflected in the annual county health rankings. Population health looks beyond acute care of illnesses and diseases, and looks at environmental factors to help prevent problems from developing (like does an area have parks and recreational facilities to promote physical activity and are there problems with air quality).
A recovery-oriented system of care is needed because only 10 percent of those who need treatment are in treatment, Flaherty said. And, fewer than 5 percent are making it to 90 days in a continuum of care. Those who go through 90 days have a 50 percent chance of being successful. On average, it takes seven attempts for a person to reach a year of sobriety. A ROSC might be able to reduce that number. Bring it down to five, and it will save millions of dollars, he added.
As the county moves toward this kind of system, Flaherty encouraged those involved to always put people first and to change their language. Instead of someone being referred to as an addict, say "a person in recovery." Stigma still continues to be one of the biggest problems to overcome.
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.