Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has issued an executive order creating a task force to study the mental health needs of county residents and to develop a plan for future county investments and decisions relating to behavioral health. As announced in the press release:
County Executive Ulman signed the executive order during a roundtable discussion on mental health needs at the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Columbia. Participants discussed the need for more inpatient treatment options, the growing demand for mental health services among elementary school pupils and the high cost of care for the middle class.
Composed of 31 members, including representatives from Howard County General Hospital, the Howard County Health Department, the Howard County Police Department, health care providers, the faith community and advocacy organizations, the task force will begin meeting in August, and is to deliver its recommendations by January 1, 2015.
As outlined in the executive order, the charge of the task force is to:
- To understand the roles played by all community partners in providing ongoing support for individuals with mental illness as well as in reducing the frequency and intensity of mental health crises;
- To identify gaps in the continuum of care. These services may include but are not limited to consistent access to outpatient treatment and psychiatric services, as well as critical
supportive services such as wrap-around stabilizing services, peer support services, community re-entry support post discharge from detention center, housing, employment and case management;
- To identify synergies and strategies to maximize return on existing investments in this area as well as to understand where additional funding or support (public and private) should be directed in the future; and
- To develop an action plan with policy, program and funding recommendations to enable the implementation of a preventive and recovery-oriented continuum of care for both Howard County adults and children.
For more information read the full press release and executive order.