SD4 - Report on Mental Health Needs and Treatment of Young Minority Adults

Executive Summary:

Senate Joint Resolution 25 (2004) directed the joint Commission on Health Care to "study the mental health needs and treatment of young minority adults in the Commonwealth" and to submit findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by the first day of the 2006 session. SJR 25 requires the Joint Commission on Health Care in conducting the study to:

• Estimate the "number of mentally disabled young adults by gender, age, and racial and ethnic classification, in the geographic regions of the Commonwealth."

• Identify the "prevailing mental health and emotional disorders and their etiology among minority young adults [and] ... the mental health needs of minority citizens, particularly minority young adults in Virginia."

• Determine the "number of racial and ethnic minority persons who receive mental health treatment ... and the facilities providing such care."

• Ascertain whether "mental health providers are trained to provide culturally competent mental health treatment" and the level of need for such treatment in Virginia.

• Review "federal and state laws and regulations ... and identify the ... extent to which medical records information may be disclosed to parents and family members to assist them in obtaining health, social services, and mental health treatment for mentally disabled young adults" and recommend ways to provide information to allow family members to obtain services and treatment without resorting to involuntary commitment.

A study workgroup was established and met during 2004 and 2005. The workgroup included representatives of community health centers, community services boards, free clinics, indigent defense attorneys, the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, Hampton University, Virginia Commonwealth University and such state agencies as the Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services. Contacts will continue to be made to involve additional workgroup members.

A detailed study workplan was developed; however, it was the consensus of the workgroup that the study will require one to two more years to address adequately the study issues. JCHC voted to continue the study of the mental health needs and access to treatment of minority individuals in Virginia by including the study on the 2006 workplan for the Joint Commission on Health Care.