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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Be sensitive to mental health stigma this Halloween


What makes someone smile can be hurtful, especially during Halloween season when people dress up in all kinds of outfits.
Halloween costumes that portray “psych ward patients” or “mental patients” in a straightjacket are insensitive to people with mental illness, said Mike Vizena, executive director of the Michigan Association of Mental Health Boards.
Few people, he said, would think it appropriate to dress up as an individual affected by AIDS or cancer, he said. Dressing up or partaking in events that poke fun at people with mental illness are just as insensitive, Vizena added.
An estimated 43.7 million adults 18 and older are living with a mental illness in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, nearly every person you meet is touched by mental illness, whether in his or her own life or someone they care about.
The NIMH also said one in five children experience a serious debilitating mental disorder at one time in their life.
The problem is that the stigma associated with the disability can keep someone with mental illness from getting the help they need. If the costume you had in mind to wear or the haunted house you planned on attending could be offensive to those who have mental illness, think twice before taking part, Vizena said.
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263 8750.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New director of quality improvement named at agency



By JERRY WOLFFE
AUBURN HILLS -- Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) has promoted Marquitta Masse to Director of Quality Improvement and Provider Network Management.

Massey’s career at OCCMHA, based in Auburn Hills, began in 1996 as a quality assurance analyst for the Quality Improvement Systems Team.

In her current capacity as director of Quality Improvement and Provider Network Management, Massey offers guidance to the Manager of Due Process and the staff of the Quality Management through effective facilitation, teaching, coordination, problem solving, conflict resolution, and coaching. She is also a member of OCCMHA’s executive leadership team. Team members utilize their industry expertise to determine all policies and practices that impact OCCMHA’s daily operations and service delivery to people with a mental illness, developmental disability, substance use disorder, or children with serious emotional disturbance.

Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lawsuit alleges disability discrimination at Detroit Metro Airport



By JERRY WOLFFE

A hearing on a discrimination lawsuit against the Wayne County Airport Authority, the operators of Detroit Metropolitan Airport, will be heard Friday (10.17) in the U.S. District Courtroom of Judge David M. Lawson.
The suit was filed Sept. 18 by attorney Jason Turkish of Nyman Turkish PC of Southfield on behalf of Michael Harris of Westland, who uses a wheelchair, and Carla Hudson of East Lansing, who is blind.
It was discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act for the airport to no longer allow public transportation services to pick up and drop off passengers at the McNamara Terminal, the suit said.
The new access location is hundreds of feet from the former location and presents a hardship for those with disabilities, Turkish said. “Delta (the major airline at the airport) should be concerned for the safety of the passengers,” he said.
The airport’s new policy eliminates the previous practice of dropping off those with disabilities within 100 feet of the terminal, built in 2002. Under the new policy, those with disabilities have to cross a bridge, go up an escalator and travel some 300 yards to arrive at the Michigan Flyer-AirRide boarding and drop-off site.
Harris, who is the executive director of the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America in Novi, said: “There’s no way I could sit out in the cold.” He cannot feel his legs and in cold weather he is at risk of incurring frostbite without being aware of it.
“Don’t take something that works and move us to a location that doesn’t,” he said.
Airport officials said the location was changed because the previous drop-off area was too congested. The Wayne County Airport Authority which oversees the airport endorsed the move on Sept. 22.
Metro Airport spokesman Michael Conway said the airport has photos of the shuttle dropping off passengers into two or three lanes of traffic. “Our motivation in doing this is safety,” he added.
Gov. Rick Snyder in June wrote a letter of Metro Airport CEO Thomas Naughton saying that “maintaining the integrity of the current stop locations which provide convenient, direct access and ideal customer service is important to keep the service attractive and convenient for travelers.”
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence and advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Meeting planned to try and slow down misues of prescription drugs



Box: Register at link below for “Be the solution” conference

By JERRY WOLFFE

Pontiac -- Efforts to lessen substance abuse are under way at communities across Oakland County in recognition of October being National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. 

The Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, Oakland County Health Department Office of Substance Abuse Services, 15 prevention coalitions, community leaders, Oakland University Department of Criminal Justice, and students will join together from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Oakland University, in Banquet Room A of the Oakland Center, to become part of the solution.

The keynote speaker will be Judge Linda Davis, founder and president of Families Against Narcotics. Special guest Dr. Darren Lubbers, of Wayne State University and evaluator for the ACHC, will also give a presentation. Together, they will address the efforts to decrease opiate misuse that is crucial to a healthy Oakland County.  

All participants will receive the Be the Solution Toolkit, developed by the ACHC Opiate Prevention Task Force, and filled with essential information parents, grandparents, and caregivers need to know about preventing youth prescription drug misuse.


Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, founded in 2004, is a 15 coalition prevention partnership based in Oakland County and part of Southeastern Michigan. The ACHC promotes a healthier Oakland County through prevention, recovery and support by strengthening collaboration among community partners and mobilizing community wide efforts.

Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, founded in 2004, is a 15 coalition prevention partnership based in Oakland County and part of Southeastern Michigan. The ACHC promotes a healthier Oakland County through prevention, recovery and support by strengthening collaboration among community partners and mobilizing community wide efforts.

Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large of the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 677-9504.