Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday Night Meeting - Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services

Wednesday Night Meeting - Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services
Clockwise from Left:  J. Jill Slim Ankle Pants, J. Jill V-neck Elbow Sleeve Tee in Mineral Blue, Lane Bryant Black Ponte Knit Jacket, EOS Lip Balm in Summer Berry, J. Jill Summer Scarf, Propet Walking Sneakers. 


This must seem like a bit of a strange blog to people, with its combination of mental health advocacy and fashion, but that's me!  

One of my volunteer jobs at NAMI NYC Staten Island is Program Coordinator, and it's my job to plan and organize the monthly information meetings we have, where people can come and learn about the mental health issues currently affecting the Staten Island community.  I come up with the ideas for inviting speakers (I get plenty of input from people, for which I'm grateful!), and I correspond by e-mail and phone with the speakers to plan and organize the event.  I also arrange for any personnel we need for technical assistance, for Powerpoint presentations or video.   

I'm the person with the fancy title, but I get a lot of help and support from many different people, including the President, the Executive Director and my friend Patty, as well as other Board Members and volunteers. 

This past Wednesday, 9/10/2014, we had an information meeting on Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services on Staten Island.  The three ladies who spoke to the audience did a great job!  Based on all the interest people had expressed by calling the office, I thought we'd have a big crowd, but there were only about 20 people.  For whatever reason they didn't come out - maybe because it was a school night.  

However, the people who attended got plenty of information about various services and resources for children and youth on Staten Island, and we all learned more about what the Affordable Care Act and the mental health parity laws can and cannot do.  Turns out that more people are covered by insurance, but the insurance companies limit how much they're going to pay for various services, so the providers aren't being compensated by the insurance companies adequately for the services they provide.  The result is that if you have Medicaid, you're very lucky, but if you have private insurance, which most Staten Islanders do, you're out of luck, because the private insurance companies limit how much they're going to pay for mental health care.  Of course, the people who suffer are the children and young people, as well as their families, because it's another hurdle to getting good mental health care.  

Anyway (steps off soapbox) ... on to the fashion!  It's getting chilly in the evening and in the early morning, so a jacket is necessary.  Air conditioning is still on in most places, so it's a good idea to bring a scarf to keep warm indoors.  I wore sneakers, even though the outfit was a bit dressy, because we had a lot to do to set up the venue - moving furniture around and setting up the chairs for the audience, and I didn't want to be encumbered by cute, but clumsy shoes. 

The evening was a success and the speakers were engaging and delivered great information.  When things go well, it makes all the hard work worthwhile!