CBHDA’s 2018 policy forum is shaping up to be a gamechanger of a conference. Below are a few topics and panels we plan on offering for attendees.

CBHDA’s 2018 policy forum is shaping up to be a gamechanger of a conference. Below are a few topics and panels we plan on offering for attendees.

Being honest about Housing First

Although many communities have begun to embrace low-barrier, housing-first strategies, Californians with mental health and/or substance use needs still face significant challenges in accessing stable housing. This panel will examine persistent barriers to housing for people with substance use disorders, mental illness, and histories of criminal justice system involvement. Panelists will highlight promising practices for implementing Housing First in ways that can meet the diverse needs of vulnerable individuals.

Adventures in Harm Reduction

Common sense, evidence-based medicine, and the long arm of the law - From supervised injection sites to moderate marijuana use, “radical” harm reduction strategies are gaining traction in California and other states. Do these and other controversial approaches constitute safe and efficacious “treatment” for substance use disorders? Should federal and state laws be changed to accommodate those who may benefit from therapies that aren’t strictly legal? This panel will interrogate 21st century harm reduction practices for people who misuse drugs or alcohol. 

Youth Mental Health in Conversation

Earlier this year, Born This Way Foundation commissioned a study from Benenson Strategy Group. This study asked 20 youth and their parents or guardians to answer a series of questions about their lives, relationships, and mental health in the form of diary entries each evening throughout several days. For the panel discussion Born This Way Foundation will highlight the findings from the online diaries and have an open conversation about how we can create a healthy dialogue about mental health within families and beyond.

Treating away homelessness?

Treating away homelessness? This panel will discuss the array of factors contributing to homelessness including: domestic violence, mental illness, Substance use disorders, disability, financial hardships, rising housing costs, loss of job, natural disasters in relation to the question, “Can you treat away homelessness?”  

Emergency department Overcrowding

Anyone who has had the occasion to go to a hospital emergency department recently is probably aware that the ED is often overcrowded, and a significant number of patients are there due to a mental health crisis or substance use disorder.  The current epidemic of opioid overdoses, involving both prescription pain relievers and heroin, is also having a major impact on emergency services.  This panel will discuss the challenges of serving this population in crowded EDs, and the importance of developing close collaboration between community addiction and mental health services and Emergency Departments.

Undocumented determinants of health

Is immigration status a social determinant of health?  Can the color of your skin predict a sooner death and what does this mean for communities of color statewide?  This panel will discuss how can Counties and consumers can improve our current system to address language barriers while navigating lawful status payment issues. 

Foster Care

This panel will address how to improve the building of trauma-informed systems for foster youth, assessing and treating trauma, addressing secondary trauma in caseworkers and trauma training. The current statutory and regulatory environment will be examined, including Continuum of Care Reform, (which effectively ends the use of foster youth group homes), family mobile response proposals, the provision of specialty mental health services and health plan provided mental health services.

ARMED with mental health first aid

For many students, school is not always a pleasant experience.  Every one of us probably knows of a young person who is struggling under academic or social anxiety-producing pressures in school, which often result in behavioral health disorders. Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches you how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. This panel will discuss the need for teachers and students to be equipped with training that will help identify, understand and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses.

If it Bleeds, It Leads

Facing the Media Scare-tactics. Fear-based news preys on our collective anxiety and comes at a cost to our mental and physical health. This panel will examine the cause and effect of fostering fear as the economic engine for the news business and what it’s like to live in a world where everyone is aiming to be the next click-bait viral story, regardless of the ethical lines crossed to get there.

Spiking Suicide Rates

Suicide rates have increased in almost every state in the past two decades, with California showing a 15% increase from 1999 to 2016. This panel will attempt to uncover what’s behind this spike by exploring the anthropological, epidemiological, cultural and societal factors of suicide. What should Counties do to prevent the continued rise in suicide rates, and what more should we do to better suicide prevention?

Creating a Statewide Strategy for Quality

This panel will address the California landscape relative to county trends in quality measurement, including External Quality Review, the Mental Health Services Act Measurement, Outcome, Quality Assessments project and an examination of quality measurement in the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System waiver. A forward-looking theme will be drawn with regards to Behavioral Health 2020.