The preliminary planning recommendations listed below are based upon literature,
data for Austin/Travis County, a community forum, focus groups, input from
community members, and the Adult Mental Health Planning Partnership. These
recommendations attempt to address the needs of adults with mental disorders,
and the community to improve public mental health in Austin/Travis County.
Develop a focused community education campaign to promote general awareness
of adult mental health as a local public health issue: Collaborate with
local chambers of commerce, employer organizations, media, providers of services
and supports, universities, and other entities that are appropriate to provide
education on reducing stigma, suicide prevention, breaking down barriers,
increasing employment opportunities, adding housing options in the community,
diverting persons with mental illness (when appropriate) from the criminal
justice system, co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues, successfulness
of new generation medications, and beneficial treatments and best practices.
Increase access to and coordination of quality adult mental healthcare
services: Identify capacity and need of the public and private mental
health system in Travis County to identify specific needs and costs. Utilize
the Adult Mental Health Partnership to plan and coordinate a comprehensive
plan to increase access and coordination of quality services.
- Increase the availability of safe and affordable housing and supports: Develop
new opportunities to meet the needs of adults with mental disorders that
choose to live independently but cannot afford housing and/or need supports.
- Increase the opportunity for employment through training and support
programs or services: Collaborate with existing vocational rehabilitation
and supported employment organizations in the community to identify specific
strategies to educate, train, and support consumers to find and maintain
employment. Also, educate, train, and support potential and existing employers
to understand the benefits and available workforce that can be provided
by adults with mental disorders.
- Implement best practice models in the community: Develop new and
evaluate existing adult mental health programs, services, or processes with
available research and expert opinion to determine effective models. Implement
systems of accountability with uniform outcome measures across providers
to identify trends, efficiencies and effective use of resources thereby ensuring
community investments are used most wisely.
- Plan of action to address mental health treatment needs of a growing
elderly population: Develop a comprehensive approach to addressing
the growing needs of older adults to include prevention and treatment strategies.
- Improve consistency, availability and quality of data within the community: Coordinate
with consumers of mental health services, local mental health organizations,
advocates, funders, and community leaders to identify and select Travis County
mental health indicators that can be tracked and analyzed to evaluate the
mental health of the community and make improved planning decisions.
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