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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
April 23, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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April 23, 2014

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108 Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Mental health department is not to blame I would like to respond to the April 2 newspaper headline "Mental health accused of hoarding funds." Plumas County's current mental health director, Peter Livingston, accepted this position with the endorsement from the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. The board acknowledged confidence in Livingston (who has been with the department for 13 years), emphasizing "he has experience, and he really, really cares." Livingston has been working six to seven days a week with a department that lost three experienced Core administrative leaders. He is appreciative of the current qualified staff and is actively searching to fill positions with motivated individuals who are willing to take the much lower salary Plumas County has offered. For example, a mental health therapist or behavioral health therapist both require six years of education, a master's degree and a California Board of Behavioral Sciences issued license. These positions are currently salaried at $94 more than the position of substance use disorder specialist, which requires 155 hours of education, equal to about one semester in college. There is no intention here to downplay the value of the latter, only to distinguish between what is required to conduct specific mental health services and the scope of how competitive salary is a factor. We need to attain excellent health care professionals who will invest long term in our communities. Consistency is vital in most therapy. Salary adjustment is at the top of the list of fund disbursement, and this request will soon be offiiatI lbmitt6d to the P Board of Supervisors for approval. Livingston seems to WHERE I STAND TRACY INGLE MEMBER PLUMAS COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION recognize that upon entering a high-stakes situation, you need to understand the conditions under which you must operate. You must evaluate and organize the cards in your hand and prepare a strategy to carry those depending on your accuracy before you start tossing chips on the table. The funding provided by the Mental Health Services Act is strictly mandated and prohibits the use of these funds for any purpose other than those authorized under the Welfare and Institutions., Code, Section 5892. Counties are required by the MHSA to maintain a "prudent reserve." This is to ensure programs will continue at established levels and to protect against decreased funds. My understanding is most counties annually set aside funds and use 50 percent of fiscal year 2008-09 CSS funding as their guide, which would be approximately $425,000 for Plumas. One reason the MH reserve is so high is that vital plans and programs have not been approved or established yet (partially from revolving-door leadership). We have the funds and ability to do this now. If you have been too unwell to cash or spend most of your paychecks and the total adds up, be grateful you are on your feet again and can move forward with security and confidence. As for accounts and regulations, county and state, multiple codes and overlapping specifications,I commend all supervisors, directors and fiscal officers for taking on the  giiItilous task of detailed investigation, educated forecasting and requesting mandated approval. This labyrinth would be enough to make some stop reading and run, so I will say this: If anyone has any questions regarding PCMH funding, rules or current plans, you are invited and welcome to attend a Plumas County Mental Health Commission meeting. The meetings are (usually) held on the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 2 p.m. at the Quincy library. These meetings have respectful dialog even when the topic is passionate. Individual opinions are valued. This is a commission of people who individually represent many facets of our communities and collaboratively represent the mission, actions and goals of PCMH. This commission is comprised of a member of the Board of Supervisors, a representative of NAMI, veterans affairs, PCRS and others, including clients and family members of clients. It is the responsibility of this commission as set forth under the WIC and the California Brown Act to evaluate, recommend and inform on all aspects of PCMH. This commission acts in accordance with the California Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission, and is well aware of the needs and challenges PCMH is facing. The PCMH Commission has the integrity and wisdom to devise and implement great things, recognizing that mental health is a root to a lot of other solutions. PCMH has a 2014 Program Adjustments Overview plan that is in review and will hopefully be approved and implemented with all deliberate speed. Beyond multiple improvements in : Portola and Quincy, it proposes the establishment of new offices in Greenville and Husqvarna .ew,,.'ZeroTurn 21hp, Briggs & Stratton awn Mower : ::r:'::::b:t:;:i ::y:te m Easy-access service points Powerful air stream 2 year homeowner's warranty Model RZ4621 $279500 Financing Available 23hp, Briggs & Stratton Lawn Mower Intek V-twin Model YrH23V42 '179500 Financing Available Hydrostatic Pedal 42" Cutting Width * Step-through - Ensures comfortable and easy mounting and dismounting. Ergonomic steering wheel - Comfortable steering wheel, angled for optimal driver's position. Serving Lassen and Plumas Counties Rusty Warren's 283-2226 507 Bell Lane, Quincy Open Mon.-Sat. 9am - 6pm Chester with both clinical and office assistant staff. Including telepsychiatry staff, this plan could open 14 or more new positions countywide. Office space could be available for shared use with other county departments and programs. Child, adult and group therapy would be available and creative citizen-driven projects could be supported. The Midyear Budget Review submitted to the Board of Supervisors in January concluded with "The Department is ready to take action to improve service delivery to the citizens of the county, and to become a more engaged collaborative partner in efforts to strengthen the community. It is hoped that the Board will support the efforts to raise the Department up to the next level, and to meet the demands of the current environment in the field of Public Mental Health." With regard to the "70-person waiting list," the mental health office does not answer the phone with "Sorry, we can't help you now." This is not a DMV-style take-a:number procedure. Every person or phone call requesting assistaflce is questioned on the severity of need and is informed about many other excellent possible resources. The PCMH phone number (283-6307) is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It should atso be noted that if you or someone you love feels a need to seek help for mental or emotional concerns, you can talk to someone who can help you get help -- a doctor or nurse, a teacher or a church pastor. Sometimes becoming involved with any group that shares a positive interest is very healing and beneficial. This is a pi-oVen fact. Another fact is that the bureaucracy involved to improve flaws in a county department, whether it is the sheriffs department, the school district or any other, is not a snap-of-the-fingers ffLX. Even though this is frustrating, we all need to have the correct information and respect for those attempting to accomplish real change through established systems of control. PCMH is not "neglecting the jail population" or "picking and choosing" who receives services. PCMH provides therapy and counseling services to the jail population, including urgent response calls, and also service to the Alternative Sentencing Program. There are too many details to report here regarding this topic: It is reasonable and necessary that all accommodations can be met with established expectations and appropriate shared funding decided upon in a professional, collaborative manner. The current director of PCMH has acted respons.ibly with all stakeholders and has ethically represented the mental health profession in proper channels. The verbal equation of a profoundly tragic teen suicide to a monetary account or amount is painfully disheartening. The innuendo that PCMH is responsible for pulling the trigger that killed a hospitalized patient is insidious and inflammatory. Res ipsa laquitur -- "The thing speaks for itself." We are a county of distinctly unique communities and we have challenges to successfully resolve that require positive insighffulness not negative incitement. I humbly offer that we lead by example, and what is reported to the communities we are attempting to serve should instill confidence of compromise and accomplishment. To be credible, one must be honest. If you speak your personal experience and understanding of truth with open-mindedness and compassion, there is no need to try to convince or persuade. You have contributed what you can, so then you may have peace in your soul. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I have written this with the true intention of informing the people of our communities that there are big plans in the works to help facilitate mental and emotional stability and well-being. I would like to say thank you to all the people who work so hard with the highest intentions to teach, heal, feed, nurture, protect, inform, defend and praise. Kindness matters, NRCS Grazing Drought Relief Program recipients- Give us a call... We'll install an efficient watering system. MY TURN, from page 8B what she would say. "Not only do you feed Bruce table scraps, but you're giving him wine now? Unbelievable!" I envisioned myself having to sleep on the couch that night. I did a quick Check on Bruce. He started to look a bit wobbly. I grabbed my phone and Googled "what to do when your cat is drunk." The answer that popped up? "Film it." Obviously, the Internet wasn't going to be any help, so I started to pray: "Meow," Bruce said to me between hiccups. Then, I heard the front door open. I did a quick recall on Bruce. He was sitting very still on the carpet. Could I get away with it? As Amy walked into the living room, I saw Bruce start to heave. I immediately thought about how much angrier Amy would be if the cat ruined the carpet. I picked him up and ran as quick as I could to the linoleum-floored bathroom. Right as I got to the bathroom, and Amy stepped into the living room, the floodgates of heaven were opened from Bruce's mouth. A vile, red vomit spewed out of him onto the floor. "Oh my goodness!" Amy yelled. I just knew I was busted. Amy would see the vomit, see my glass of wine, and put two and two together. "Oh poor Brucey! Are you sick, buddy?" she surprisingly said. Instead of the anger I was anticipating from Amy, she was expressing sympathy! "Conie here and let me take care of you." Amy pick'druce up and sat him on her lap. Bruce fell asleep and comfortably nursed his hangover, while Amy petted him over and over. I, on the Other hand, was stuck with clean-up duty. Though I would never intentionally feed my cat booze, everything ended all right. In the days since the incident, Amy and Bruce have grown together. Also, I stopped leaving wine lying around on the coffee table. Water Systems Asphalt. Concrete Base Rock Grading Paving * Building & much more