County provides services for an average of 141 adults with mental illness each year

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

“Morrison County’s Mental Health Service Delivery is providing support to those in our community that suffer from mental illnesses. Studies have shown that creating a therapeutic alliance leads to the most effective and longest lasting benefit in people’s recovery and ability to manage their mental illness. By nature civil  commitments are an adversarial event and thus impede that relationship,”  Paul Bukovich, Morrison County Social Services supervisor said.

Bukovich presented his report to the Morrison County Commissioners, Tuesday.

He said, “On a continuum civil commitment would be considered the most restrictive environment moving to hospitalization, foster care, supportive living facilities, to living at home with services, to living at home with no services. Most people want to have the  autonomy of  living where they chose.”

To achieve this alliance, Social Services is focusing the delivery of its services and that of its partners, using the goals of: reducing involuntary required supports, services provided in the least restricted environment, no wrong door to services, effective support at the right time and the right place, services are self-directed, holistic view of mental and physical health and services and supports are delivered in a cost effective way.

On average, Morrison County Social Services serves 141 adult mental health cases each year.

Bukovich said, “All of our services are designed to address an individual’s needs prior to deteriorating  to the point where they become dangerous to themselves and others, thus requiring the protection of a civil commitment. We have been able to demonstrate a significant reduction in the number of commitments since adopting these goals as our guide.”

So far in 2014 there have been no costs incurred related to commitments by the department. “Another indicator that Morrison County’s network of community supports and services is working is that there have not been any Morrison County persons requiring admission into St. Peter Security Hospital or Anoka Regional Treatment Center,” said Bukovich.

“This is in part due to our efforts of connecting people to health care benefits and an overall reduction in the number of commitments proceedings required because of the supports and services provided in our community,” Bukovich said.

Also attending Tuesday’s meeting was Jennifer Prueser, adviser to the local mental health advisory council.

Mental Health Advisory Councils serve as advisory committees on the state level as well as in counties throughout Minnesota.  The requirement that Human Services have a permanent task force relating to mental health is written into law under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes, Sections 245.466 and 245.4875, Subd. 5 and the provisions of Minnesota Statutes Section 402.03.

“We implore you to consider the unique needs of those living with a mental illness and their family members. Individuals and families living with mental illness  present a complex set of needs that may create barriers to their accessing available resources in the County,” she said.

Prueser’s report highlighted five goals which originated from a survey  conducted in 2013 to identify unmet needs of individuals and families living with mental illness in Morrison County. The five goals include; education, housing, crisis intervention services, family and peer support and collaboration with other local advisory councils.

“Mental illness is a factor in an individual’s understanding of what resources are available. Such  resources include basic living and survival needs like food, shelter, financial resources, education, vocational training, supported employment, psychiatric  and medical treatment, substance abuse counseling and accessible, and affordable public transportation,” Prueser said.

“Often times individuals living with mental illness ask the questions: Who provides mental health services? What resources are available in Morrison County? Where do I find resources and services? When can I get an appointment to see a psychiatrist or therapist? Why wasn’t I aware of these resources and services?” said Prueser.

An example of the committee’s goals to meet their various objectives would be to support local mental health agencies in providing educational groups to consumers at the Drop-in-Center; seeking information on local area housing programs for discussion at council meetings; refer those in need to Mental Health Services in Morrison County; and identify and make recommendations for the unmet needs of consumers and family members.

Both Bukovich and Prueser stressed that anyone feeling they were in need of immediate mental health assistance should call 911.

Morrison County Board Briefs

Other business that came before the Morrison County Board, Tuesday,  included:

• Appointing Kathy Marshik as Morrison County’s Veterans Service Officer with a salary of $48,734 plus benefits. She will begin her duties Wednesday, filling the position held by Paul Froncak who will retire June 6;

• Entering into a contract with Uniek Software to provide electronic medical records for the jail at a cost of $21,826. The contract will be paid out of the inmate services account;

• Approving a contract with Motorola  to provide updated consoles to the dispatch center at the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department. The update will cost $345,783.90 and the money will come from the 800 megahertz funds and 911 reserves;

•  Authorizing Morrison County Public Health to apply for a 2014 Toward Zero Death (TZD) Safe Roads grant from the Minnesota Office of traffic Safety;

• Approving a one-day liquor license to the Pierz Commercial Club (Pierz Freedom Fest) on July 19 at the Genola ball fields;

• Approved the annual renewal of the Precious Metal Dealer licenses for Melgram Jewelers, GoldSmith Jewelers and RSC Jewelry and Coins; and

• Proclaiming May as Vulnerable Adult Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. The Commissioners urge all citizens to work together to help reduce abuse and neglect of adults who are elderly or have disabilities

The next regular meeting of the Morrison County Commissioners will be held Tuesday, June 3 at 9 a.m.