In October of 2018, a report that ranks the mental health and access to care of all states in the US was released by the MHA, Mental Health America. MHA is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. The MHA believes that gathering and providing up-to-date data and information about disparities faced by individuals with mental health problems is a tool for change.
Key findings from the report include:
– Over 44 million American adults have a mental health condition.
– The rate of youth experiencing a mental health condition continues to rise.
– More Americans are insured and accessing care.
– But many Americans experiencing a mental health condition still report having an unmet need.
– Mental health workforce shortage remains.
In this report, a high overall ranking indicates lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care. There were 15 measures used to make up the overall ranking which includes both adult and youth measures as well as prevalence and access to care measures. Minnesota was ranked number one overall.
JFS is very proud of its contribution to making Minnesota the leader in mental health care and access to care. In 2018, the list of contributions is impressive:
– Early in 2018, JFS sponsored “Learning from Each Other: a Continuing Interfaith Conversation on Mental Health.” The event was designed to bring together people from different religions with interest in mental health issues.
– JFS Aging & Disability Services Director Chris Rosenthal serves as the JFS representative on the MN Leadership Council on Aging. Chris is also a member of the Public Policy Committee and co-chair the Health Equity Work Group, and a member of the Twin Cities Aging Network.
– JFS Contracts Director Jill Grover was appointed by the Governor of MN to serve a four-year term as a board member on the Minnesota Board of Social Work. Jill also serves as the board’s secretary/treasurer and on the Compliance, Communication, Education and Outreach, and Application Review committees.
– The Disability Services contract team at JFS continues to provide high quality case management services to adults ages 18 to 86 with serious and persistent mental illness through their Disability Services contract with Ramsey County.
– In November, JFS sponsored “Freedom Song,” an original musical production that examines the impact of addiction on a Jewish family and a celebration of the strength of the family to accept challenges and overcome shame and fear.
– JFS was selected by the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) to receive funding that will help support the Caregiver Support Group, Dementia/Caregiver Coaching, and PEARLS programs including the new PEARLS for Caregivers.
– Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper presented the Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award to JFS for providing services, education and resources for persons with dementia and their caregivers. The award recognizes excellence among human services providers, counties, tribes, advocacy groups and other organizations that work in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to help people meet their basic needs, so they can live in dignity and achieve their highest potential.
– JFS continues to expand its mental health services including the Counseling and Mental Health department with two full time therapists who have conducted 826 sessions in 2018. Dr. Mitchell Wittenberg has provided weekly psychological consultation services to the administrators, teachers, and parents of the Lubavitch Cheder Day School in St. Paul, with the overarching goal of improving the emotional, social, academic, and behavioral wellbeing of their students.
– Dr. Wittenberg has also completed extensive training in pediatric clinical hypnosis through the National Pediatric Hypnosis Training Institute (NPHTI) and provided grief support at a local congregation in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
– Therapist Beth Johnson has taken extensive continuing education coursework in working with individuals who have experienced trauma. She has added Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to her arsenal of therapeutic approaches.
– Additional growing programs include Community Chaplaincy, which is serving more people than ever before, and support groups which are experiencing increased attendance.
– In October, the annual mental health conference broke all previous attendance records with nearly 700 registrations.
– Also well-attended was the bi-annual Change Makers Forum to explore making change in mid-life and beyond.