Region V+ Mental Health Initiative

Greater State of Mind

Addressing Mental Health in Central Minnesota | summer 2021

Working together to understand mental health resources in our region

Greater State of Mind: Addressing Mental Health in Central Minnesota is a collaborative project for Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties and the Leech Lake Band and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Nations.

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Leaders in local government, tribes, schools, community organizations, and mental health care providers in our central-Minnesota region are working together to understand the state of child and adult mental health resources – availability, accessibility, accommodation, affordability, and awareness.

Project overview & objective

This is a mental health needs assessment; a region-wide health assessment that uses data collection and analysis to identify key mental health needs, issues, and community resources.

By fall 2021, each county will receive a report that summarizes its unique findings, plus recommendations with proposed action plans for improving access to mental health resources. It is our hope that the findings will drive strategic planning and collaboration in addressing regional mental health.

Who’s involved?

We’re coordinating this assessment project with guidance from a cross-functional Advisory Group. The Center for Behavioral Health Integration, LLC (C4BHI), is facilitating data collection and analysis. The project is supported and funded by Sourcewell, our regional service cooperative.

We will also need to hear from local leaders and direct-services staff in our region who provide mental health care or work at a key community organization.

The Greater State of Mind Advisory Group

You might know someone on our Advisory Group. This group helps us plan and will help share the findings. These people represent the key stakeholders in the mental health service community and can represent the needs of the towns and counties in which they work.

  • Kami Genz, Aitkin County, Community Corrections Director
  • Kara Griffin, Crow Wing County, Programs Manager
  • Tami Lueck, Crow Wing County, Adult Services Division Manager
  • Michael Steinbeisser, Todd County, Social Services Supervisor
  • Jim Exsted, Baxter Police Department, Chief
  • Cheryl Turcotte, Minnesota Office of the Ombudsman, Ombudsman
  • Duffy Craft, Artesian Homes, General Manager
  • Melissa George-Humphrey, Leech Lake Behavioral Health-Human Services, Clinical Director
  • Kevin Edwards, Northern Pines Mental Health Center, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team
  • Dr. David Anderholm, Northern Psychiatric Associates, Psychiatrist
  • Charitie Herbst, Sourcewell, Community Solutions
  • Danielle Wadsworth, Sourcewell, Regional Contract Specialist & Region 5+ AMHI Program Coordinator
  • Mike Willie, Sourcewell, Regional Transitional Specialist
  • Lisa Worden, Sourcewell, School Liaison

Wanted: regional mental health providers and community partners

Are you a mental health provider in our region? Or, do you work for a key community organization in our region, like a school, place of worship, food bank, shelter, senior center, family or youth center, transportation entity, law enforcement, emergency response team, or similar organization? 

You are the experts, and we want to hear from you for this project. Complete this form and Cathleen Scully, project coordinator from C4BHI, will connect with you.

We also want to hear from people who've received care

Have you or someone in your care, such as a child or vulnerable adult, received mental health services in the last 12 months? We’d like to hear from you. Please complete the form above and in both the Title and Organization field, write: Consumer.

What's the commitment and what's in it for me?

If you choose to help us (and we hope you do!), we will ask you to complete an online survey, and possibly a one-on-one or small-group interview. The questions will assess current services and identify areas of need to best serve community members. 

When you participate, you will gain a better understanding of what’s going well, what’s not, and where there’s opportunity for collaboration or new services in our region. Ultimately, you will be part of a project that is going to improve the wellbeing and vitality of our region. 

Here’s a breakdown of the time commitment and activities.

For providers

  1. Designate a point person from your organization to be the key contact. C4BHI will work with them the rest of the way.
  2. Your direct-services staff will take an online survey, 10 minutes.
  3. Your leadership staff will take an online survey, 30 minutes.
  4. Leadership staff may be asked to participate in a one-on-one interview, 60 minutes.
  5. Work with us to survey your consumers, 10 minutes.
  6. Work with us to make direct-service providers and consumers available for focus group interviews, 60 minutes. C4BHI will provide incentives for participation.

For community partners

  1. Designate a point person from your organization to be the key contact. C4BHI will work with them the rest of the way.
  2. Your entire staff will take an online survey, 10 minutes.
  3. Your leadership staff will be asked to participate in focus group interviews, 60 minutes.

For people who’ve received care

  1. Take an online survey, 10 minutes.
  2. You may be asked to participate in a focus group interview, 60 minutes.

Timeline and approach

A team of independent behavioral health consultants from C4BHI will conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups throughout June and July. The team will analyze the data in August and be ready to share findings and actions plans in September.

Slide1

C4BHI will use a mixed-method mental health needs assessment approach with surveys, qualitative interviews, and focus groups. In addition, they’ll use secondary data from local, state, and national data sources.

Integrated into the approach is a model developed by Penchansky and Thomas, which theorizes access as a fit between characteristics and expectations of the providers and the clients they serve and focuses on the following key areas: availability, accessibility, accommodation, affordability, and awareness.

Slide2

C4BHI’s final recommendations with proposed action plans will be evidence-supported and drawn from regional, state, and national models. 

Background

This project has been a wish list item for us for many years. Our region’s county health and human services directors have also wanted a formal mental health needs assessment for quite some time and have attempted to review gaps in our mental health services for several years with varying degrees of success. The challenge has been finding the time, resources, and money to take on such a big project.

In 2019, we teamed up with the county health and human services directors and entered into discussion with our regional service cooperative, Sourcewell.

Sourcewell’s regional solutions staff listened to our concerns and asked a lot of questions to better understand our desired outcomes for the region. While Sourcewell does not offer mental health needs assessment services, its staff (with approval from its board of directors) agreed to help us find someone who does and to fund this important initiative.

The search for an assessment partner

In the fall of 2020, Sourcewell opened a Request for Proposal for Regional Mental Health Services Needs Assessment on behalf of the six counties we represent. The organization’s procurement team vetted the proposals and awarded the contract to the most responsive and responsible partner: The Center for Behavioral Health Integration, LLC (C4BHI).

C4BHI is a team of trained behavioral health specialists and health care consultants. One main goal of C4BHI is to share their knowledge and expertise to help organizations reach their own potential. For the last 20 years, their team has collaborated with communities, nonprofit agencies, universities, and state and federal entities, to manage and help realize best outcomes for population health projects. Their experience spans the continuum of care for co-occurring mental health and substance use challenges as well as broader areas within health care and education.

Good question

The best way to learn more is to ask good questions. Here are some we’ve heard and answered so far.

A mental health needs assessment refers to a state, tribal, or local health assessment that identifies key mental health needs, issues, and community resources available using data collection and analysis. A mental health needs assessment can benefit the community in many ways. It reveals the strengths, gaps, and opportunities for resources. The findings drive strategic planning, collaboration, and addressing regional mental health.

June to July – research and data collection

August – analyze

September – report findings, share recommendations, and action plans

C4BHI will use a mixed-method mental health needs assessment approach with surveys, qualitative interviews, and focus groups. In addition, they’ll use secondary data from local, state, and national data sources.

Your privacy and the privacy of your consumers is important to us. 

All surveys will be collected using a secure platform that complies with the federal law restricting release of medical information (HIPAA). Provider and leadership surveys will be de-identified and reported in aggregate. Consumer surveys will be anonymous, with no identifying information collected.

For focus groups and interviews, we will not use names or identities in any of our reports. Only combined results from everyone we talk to will be presented.

We want to ensure we give credit to your company or organization for participating in this project. We will use company or organization names (not individuals’ names) only. If you prefer we do not acknowledge your company’s or organization’s participation, please let us know.

The data will be used in aggregate. All data will be analyzed to identify the mental health needs and challenges of the consumers. The data will inform the strengths and weaknesses of mental health services. An action plan to address the needs identified will be prepared and presented to the community. 

The reports and action plans developed for this work will focus on recommended improvements for the mental health system overall, not for any individual provider, program, or service. Your contributions will help us determine the needs and gaps in services so the more information we can gather from you the more specific and actionable our recommendations will be.

This project has been a wish list item for us for many years. Our region’s county health and human services directors have also wanted a formal mental health needs assessment for quite some time and have attempted to review gaps in our mental health services for several years with varying degrees of success. We want to understand the current state of our region to help drive strategic planning.

If you’re a mental health provider or key community partner in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, Wadena county, or the Leech Lake Band and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Nations, you’re a good fit for this project. Complete our form and Cathleen Scully, our project coordinator, from C4BHI will connect with you.

A community partner organization includes (but is not limited to): school, place of worship, food bank, shelter, senior center, family or youth center, transportation entity, law enforcement, emergency response team, or similar organization.

We also want to hear from people who live in the region. If you, or someone in your care, such as a child or vulnerable adult, have received mental health services in the last 12 months, we’d like you to complete a 10-minute survey. Please complete our form. In both the Title and Organization field, write: Consumer. Cathleen Scully, our project coordinator, from C4BHI will connect with you.

It depends. The first step for everyone is an online survey, which will take 10 minutes. If you’re a leader at a mental health organization or community partner organization, we may ask to interview you one-on-one, which will take up to 60 minutes.

We’d also like to interview some of your direct-services staff as part of our community focus groups. Those sessions take around 60 minutes. We can also use your help connecting with consumers so we can conduct focus groups and interviews with them. Their perspective is critical to this work and your existing relationships with the people you serve will help us a great deal in hearing from them.

The questions will assess current services and identify areas of need to best serve community members.

We pulled together a team of mental health experts within our region and across different counties to assist us in guiding the work the Center of Behavioral Health Integration will do. The members are social services supervisors, probation personnel, regional ombudsman, law enforcement, mental health providers, and Sourcewell regional staff.

Crisis Text Line: Text MN to 741741

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