In 2014, more than 40 percent of the Stanislaus County Mental Health Board members resigned, moved or passed away.
The Mental Health Board is tasked with serving as the liaison to the Board of Supervisors and identifying issues that pertain to the community’s mental health needs for individuals and beyond, including families, businesses, law enforcement and schools. The board called it an “unprecedented year” in their executive summary as they have instated a mentorship program to guide the newcomers that will replace the five former board members. In order to keep the board moving forward, a site visit schedule and program evaluations have also been instated.
Prior to the ongoing changes, the county accomplished a significant addition to their services with the building of the Stanislaus Recovery Center in Ceres. The 16-bed and 10,500 square foot psychiatric health facility opened in March extending the county’s reach to help those in need of mental healthcare.
"This new resource in our community comes about as a result of a unique collaboration involving county government, partner hospitals, law enforcement, and community stakeholders," said Director of Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Madelyn Schlaepfer during a tour of the facility in February. "It will be the centerpiece of a broader continuum of care for individuals in need of mental health services."
In an effort to address concerns that all community members receive the mental care they need without the fear of stigma, Mental Health Board members participate in eight committees that offer a more specific look at the needs of diverse individuals. These include the Adult System of Care Committee, Older Adult System of Care Committee, Children's and Transitional Age Youth System of Care Committee, Managed Care Committee, Administrative/Fiscal Committee, Criminal Justice Oversight Committee, Veterans' Committee and the Impact Committee.
With an interest in overall improvement, in the last year the Adult System of Care Committee implemented a new discipline of Results-Based Accountability, a process that involves measuring program performances and identifying who the consumers are as well as the quality of the “ends” or results.
“For an organization like BHRS, the ends are how consumers are better off when the program works the way it should,” states the report prepared by Vice Chair Christopher Cataline.
The county also trained 37 officers from the Modesto Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Stanislaus County Probation Department, and some officers from out of county through its Criminal Justice Oversight Committee.
“Crisis Intervention Training continues to attract interested participants on a regular basis,” states Committee Chair Charles Grom’s report. “Responses from officers and other graduates have shown that the information and training from these academies has made dealing with individuals with mental illness safer for both officers and citizens.”
Overall, the county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services administers services to residents of all ages with mental illness and, according to the Board’s report released on Nov. 25, “collaborative efforts were a high priority during the preceding year, and remain so during the tenuous budgets years.” Pooling resources amongst public and community-based agencies and sharing information with fellow county boards remain on the forefront of the Board’s vision.