New NAMI Fact Sheet

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Fact Sheet
Opiate Abuse and Mental Illness
The term “opiate” refers to a number of different substances—both legal and illegal—originally synthesized from the poppy plant and sharing certain chemical properties. Read More

Stimulant Abuse, Cocaine and Mental Illness
The term “stimulant” refers to a number of different substances—both legal and illegal—originally found in various plants including the coca (cocaine) and the ephedra plants (ephedrine, amphetamine). Read More

Alcohol and Mental Illness
Alcohol is legal for adults over the age of 21 in most states, and the majority of people who drink alcohol do so responsibly and without experiencing significant adverse effects. Yet, alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in America… Read More

Marijuana and Mental Illness
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in America: approximately one in 10 adult Americans report having used marijuana in the past year. In recent years, laws addressing the use and possession of marijuana have been changing, and many states—including Colorado, California, Massachusetts and others—have passed regulations either legalizing marijuana for medical purposes or decriminalizing the non-medical use of marijuana. Read More

FDA requires lower doses for sleep medications

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is requiring makers of Ambien and similar sleeping pills to lower the dosage of their drugs, based on studies suggesting patients face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/01/10/2407381/fda-requires-lower-doses-for-sleep.html#storylink=cpy

Boise police officers say they shouldn’t be counselors

The Idaho Statesman
Boise police officers say they shouldn’t be counselors
Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/08/24/2242898/boise-cops-say-they-shouldnt-be.html#storylink=cpyThe police chief wants a better network for people in mental health crises, so they don’t become criminal cases or suicide statistics.

By ANNA WEBB — awebb@idahostatesman.com

On Tuesday night, a woman called police to a house near State Street because her husband was holding a gun to his head. The woman fled with her 2-year-old. Officers caught the man on the roof of his shed and took him into custody on a mental hold.

On Wednesday night, officers talked a suicidal woman down from the Emerald Street overpass. She was distraught over a recent DUI arrest and child custody issues. Officers took her into custody after closing the Connector for 30 minutes.

By noon Thursday, Boise Bench Patrol Officer Gary Wiggins had fielded four mental health-related calls.

“It’s a daily occurrence for us,” said Wiggins, a 20-year veteran.

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson said these cases and the May 31 death of Troy Epperly are among reminders that services are lacking for Idahoans who need mental health care and that police are shouldering a growing burden.

Epperly confronted police outside a Boise residence after telling his estranged wife he intended “suicide by cop.”

He refused to drop his gun. Police shot him. He died in the hospital.

Investigators last week concluded that the shooting was justified. But Masterson and Wiggins hope for a day when mental health issues are resolved long before they become crises requiring police intervention.

DEMANDS ON OFFICERS

Officers get paid to be first responders. But they’re not mental health professionals, said Wiggins.

“We get calls on everything from people whose power has been turned off, threatening to kill themselves if someone doesn’t turn it back on, to people who used to be in mental health outpatient programs but aren’t now because those programs don’t exist anymore,” said Wiggins.

“The worst thing for me is going into situations by myself,” he said. “Not because I’m worried for my safety, but because I don’t know what to do for these people.”

Twenty years ago, Wiggins spent lots of time making arrests. Now he jokes that each officer should get a Prius and work in street clothes because they spend so much time helping people find services. “We do more social interventions than crime-fighting,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins said he’s felt the effects of cuts at Health and Welfare. Mental health staffers once available 24 hours a day are still available all weekend — but not from midnight to 7 a.m. weekdays.

Masterson said police take people for mental hold assessment in only about 10 percent of mental health calls. What happens to other men and women in distress?

“What do we do to help those people?” said Masterson.

And officers often end up on additional calls involving the 10 percent who have been hospitalized.

In one case, Wiggins responded to five mental health calls for the same man. On the fifth, the man had hanged himself.

Over the past two years, Boise police have responded to 13,000 mental health-related calls — everything from welfare checks to attempted suicides and overdoses.

Decades ago, domestic violence had a stigma similar to mental health issues and suicide. Society responded with tougher laws and coordinated services. That hasn’t happened for mental health.

“I can show you statistics that over the last five years, drunk-driving arrests have decreased by more than 50 percent and there’s a correlation of fewer accidents. Roads are safer,” said Masterson.

“What I can’t do is show you the same decreases in suicides and people in crisis.”

ON THE FRONT LINE

Boise police have taken steps to prepare officers for expanding demands. After the 2004 fatal shooting of Matthew Jones, a 16-year-old who approached an officer with an unloaded antique gun, city Ombudsman Pierce Murphy recommended the department provide officers with training to defuse mental health crises.

The department, working with Health and Welfare, created a Crisis Intervention Team. Officers from across the department have received 40 hours of training.

The problem, Masterson said after the Epperly shooting, is that such efforts are “downstream” — responding to people in crisis after the fact.

“As a state and society, we need to focus on ‘upstream’ efforts to minimize using police from Boise, Chubbuck, Post Falls or any sheriff’s department in our state as primary intervention services,” he said.

WAITING FOR A HOTLINE

One place to start would be a state suicide hotline.

Kathie Garrett, former state legislator and chairwoman of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, said the goal is to get the hotline running by mid-November.

Hotline advocates have raised close to $369,000, about $50,000 short of what they’ll need to operate for the first two years, said John Reusser, who’s been hired to head the hotline. The group is still raising money.

Both Masterson and Garrett say a hotline is just one step in what needs to be a network of services to help people — whether they have insurance or not — and to follow up after the crisis has passed.

A STATE RESPONSE

Idaho ranks 47th in spending on mental health care, according to the Speedy Foundation, named for Olympian Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, who had a history of depression and took his life in 2011.

After the Epperly report, Masterson called on residents to ask lawmakers for more funding for mental health services. Masterson testified before the Legislature a couple of years ago supporting a tax increase on beer and wine to help pay for programs.

The chief also wants people to take responsibility and recognize when someone close to them is in crisis.

His officers see the results when that doesn’t happen.

“I’ve had officers who have pleaded with people until their voices were hoarse, only to have people shoot themselves in the officer’s presence,” said Masterson. “We like to think there’s a tough veneer. But it takes a toll. Officers question themselves, ask themselves what they might have done.”

Anna Webb: 377-6431

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/08/24/2242898/boise-cops-say-they-shouldnt-be.html#storylink=cpy

Voting Rocks!

Click here to read about self-advocating

What Is Mental Illness?

Click this link to read about mental illness

Finding Your Own Way: Learning to Live with Bipolar Disorder

Finding Your Own Way: Learning to Live with Bipolar Disorder

Child Mental Health

Click the link below to learn more about mental health in children
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/childmentalhealth.html

Idaho children’s mental health care spurs class-action lawsuit

http://www.kivitv.com/news/local/162015215.html