Ask Away: Questions on Mental Health for our Next Governor

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  machristner 10 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #29245

    More than one million Coloradans experience a mental health or substance use disorder each year, but the subject itself doesn’t figure prominently on the campaign trail. We aim to change that — and we need your help.

    What questions on mental health policy would you like our state’s (would-be) leaders to answer? Please share your suggestions on our public forum.

    We’ll compile your questions and submit them to the candidates next month. Then we’ll share their responses with the media and with each of you.

    This topic touches every family in Colorado. Let’s make sure our next governor understands that too.

  • #29250

    Paul Skizinski

    I see a couple of issues on this subject. One is that it is important that mental health be covered by insurance, just as physical ailments are. This seems like it is primarily a concern of insurance companies, but perhaps there can be some effort from government to encourage insurance companies to cover it to the same degree as all other health concerns. And secondly, we need a coordinated effort on the part of government, along with non-governmental organizations, providers and the media to remove the stigma of mental illness as something of which we should be ashamed. We are gradually realizing how prevalent mental illness is in our society, but we still don’t accept it as just another ailment. In the past, I have suffered from depression, and with help I overcame it. Currently my wife is in counseling and on medication to help her gain a better feeling of self-worth. Many other people probably could benefit from similar treatment, but are reluctant to get it because they don’t want to be thought of as having a mental problem. Let’s try to fix that!

  • #29251


    Icebreaker: What’s your favorite sandwich place in Denver?

    Down to Business: If an individual with the diagnosis of Bipolar Type 1 with psychotic features wanted to meet you, what would you say, how would you respond, and have you heard of the DSM-V, or of police brutality preponderance towards mental health patients? Would you like to meet me? Do you have personal experience with mental brain conditions? Again, what’s your favorite sandwich place in Denver?

  • #29252

    Paul Skizinski

    Good morning, JR. I assume you have directed your post to me, since I’m the only other person to have submitted a post. I buy a sandwich at Subway at least once a month. They are consistently good, healthy and good value. I would be happy to meet you. I live in Englewood, and besides Subway I frequent any of several Old Chicago locations. The one at RiverPoint is close to home. I could not tell you without searching online what DSM-V means. I’m certainly no expert on mental health issues, so if I were meeting and visiting a person with a mental health condition, I would not boldly embark on advice which might be misguided, but would more likely let that person lead the conversation. I would listen with compassion. I’d also look for common ground on subjects not related to mental health. If you wish to contact me, you can find me on Facebook under my first and last name.

  • #29253

    Paul Skizinski

    Oh, and yes, I am concerned about the way some law enforcement officers relate to persons with mental illness. I might add that those who act with brutal force get all the news, which is unfair to the majority of police who treat everyone appropriately.

  • #29255


    After many crimes have been committed by people who were mentally ill, families stated that no matter how hard they tried to get help for that person, the system failed them. There have to be regulations/laws in place to force entities, whether insurance companies or Adult Protection or other health care facilities–to provide the help needed when families beg for help for their mentally ill loved one. We can’t let these people fall through the cracks and then go out and shoot a room full of children, or a theater full of people. (I’m just using those as examples).
    So many times families have asked everywhere for help and none exists. I noted that the Denver police now take a mental health staff person along on some calls to assist. There should be much more funding for this type of thing–and mentally ill people who are in jails should be getting mental health care in appropriate facilities, not languishing in jails, or getting out and killlng people or dying in the street.

  • #29257

    Paul Skizinski

    Good thoughts, Dotty. Having never experienced that problem myself, it didn’t come to mind when I made my comments, but I have heard in the news about the issue, and it deserves attention from our lawmakers, as well as those in charge of police departments.

  • #29259


    My biggest issue is too many rights have been given to people dealing with mental illness and we as family members are left trying to fight the system to get our loved ones help. I struggled a couple of years ago with my mother’s last episode and I’m now at the point where I’m very arms length with her illness because I don’t have the ability to get her the help she needs. While I understand that there were many abuses years ago with locking away people in institutions, it’s gone too far and now even with 15 notarized affidavits from friends and family noting that my mother is a danger to herself, the judge still released her from the temp hold we were able to get. Thankfully another doctor was able to see the problem and was able to get her on some medication, but we’re now back to being non-medicated and I have to step back because it takes too much of a toll on my health fighting the system to help her get the proper help.

    I guess my question to those running for Governor would be: what will you do to help the family members whose hands are tied who struggle year after year to help get their loved ones the proper medicine they need? Also, when in the hell will we get the proper funding that has been lacking for so many years?

  • #29260


    I am of the opinion that there at minimum two major concerns. The first is access. The second costs.
    Taking each in turn:
    How can access to MH services be both more available and entry made easier? One possibility would be to bring the college and university psychology programs into some form of consortium. A coordinated effort across campuses of graduate psychology students offering supervised MH services both on and off campuses would be a possibility.

    Cost factors alone are prohibitive for many. Here I think is where we involve the professional community. Perhaps by working through the various Associations,Society’s and Boards we can try and design a set of accords across organizations. At present there is very little financial incentive for MH professionals to offer any signicant degree of Pro Bono care. A place to start perhaps?

    Would appreciate the candidates thoughts.
    DR. Pat Vann

  • #29352


    in 2017 Colorado Is ranked the #2 state with highest drug use & addition rate along with being the # 1 state with the highest percent of teenage & adult drug users why isn’t more being done w/ regards to addiction & relapse treatment & prevention

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