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National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery | NCMHR

Impacting Healthcare Reform was the focus of the American College of Mental Health Administrations' Summit

SANTA FE, NM - March 14, 2008 - Participants in the session on the National Healthcare Address include from right to left: Tommy Thompson, Lauren Spiro, and Andrew Kessler, and hidden behind the podium is Ron Manderschied

March 14, 2008 (Santa Fe, NM)  Tommy G. Thompson, independent chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, former Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary and four-term governor of Wisconsin, addressed the need to significantly redesign our healthcare deliver system which spends 80% of our healthcare dollars on chronic illnesses. He said that wellness and prevention is where we need to go and he detailed ideas for systems change.

Lauren Spiro introduced the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery whose membership is growing and currently includes 30 consumer-run statewide organizations and four national consumer-run technical assistance centers. She invited the audience to contact their statewide group and for those from a state that doesn't yet have a statewide network, she encouraged them to offer support and resources to develop a network.  With this coalition, we can all work together collaboratively to turn this rusty old battleship around and create a system that meets the real needs of real people.

Andrew Kessler introduced Friends of SAMHSA which partners with local groups across the country to increase awareness and education of mental health and substance use issues and the great work being done at the federal level.

Ron Manderschied, PhD, Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Programs for Constella Group, NC, directed the entire summit and kept us focused on increasing awareness, having planning discussions and making commitments to take action. The American College of Mental Health Administrations’ convenes diverse leaders to promote leadership development, contribute to a shared vision for behavioral health administration, and facilitate the implementation of strategic recommendations for change.

The three day Summit ended with participants sharing the actions they would take. Ms. Spiro shared a number of ideas and said “the most important thing is that I will continue to advocate that people with the lived experience of recovery and their families will be at the head table. We will continue to move towards eliminating the oppressive policies, practices and attitudes that contribute to spiraling healthcare costs, unnecessary suffering and premature death. I hope at next years’ summit to hear from more consumers and families about successful, innovative programs.

For more of Ms Spiro’s recommendations, which were shared at the summit, click here.