Keep The Promise Coalition is taking its message to the Internet airwaves with a series of radio shows on topics like adolescent substance abuse, mobile psychiatric services, and mental health parity. A description of the latest three episodes can be found below.

Click to play: Adolescent Substance Abuse in Connecticut

We interview Liz Jorgensen, who is a certified alcohol and drug counselor with more than 26 years of experience treating adolescents with substance use disorders in Connecticut. She is the Director of Insight Counseling in Ridgefield and was recently interviewed for a New York Times article that was published on June 9, 2012. The article is titled “Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill.”

In our interview, we discuss the Times article and highlight some of the challenges families and adolescents face in accessing treatment for substance use disorders. This episode is also timely because the Connecticut Department of Public Health released the results of the School Health Survey and Youth Risk Behavior Report on June 8, 2012. Click here to listen.

Connecticut’s Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services

According to several well-placed sources in Connecticut’s mental health system, the volume of calls for emergency psychiatric services for children and adolescents has surged in the last 6 months.  What is happening?  What can we do about it?

We will discuss DCF’s Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS), with its Director, Tim Marshall, LCSW, and with Jeff Vanderploeg, PhD, the Associate Director of the Connecticut Center for Effective Practice. Dr. Vanderploeg is responsible for collecting and analyzing outcomes data on EMPS. The numbers show that the service is being used with increasing frequency, but more families and schools need to be aware of this service. Ultimately, DCF is looking to decrease the need for inpatient hospitalizations and emergency room visits because of emotional-behavioral problems. Click here to listen.

Mental Health Parity in Connecticut: Role of the Office of the Healthcare Advocate

Connecticut’s Office of the Healthcare Advocate is dedicated to ensuring that patients have access to the medical and mental health services to which they are entitled.  We’ll be speaking to Jody Rowell, LCSW, the OHA’s specialist in mental health services. Ms. Rowell has important information about the OHA’s work that is relevant to patients, families, and clinicians alike.

Although there are laws on the books to give children and families the same access to mental health services as medical services, we cannot yet claim that there is parity. Ms. Rowell will also discuss some of the things she is doing to promote mental health parity for children and adolescents. Click here to listen.