The Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAAC) work to strengthen Ohio’s mental health and addiction communities by working with state government leaders, service providers, the community and mental health advocates. “The mission of the Mental Health and Addiction Advocacycoalition (MHAAC) is to enhance the quality of life for persons with mental illness and substance abuse disorders through public policy and legislation, educational programming and research.
Mental Health and Addiction Advocates
” Unfortunately, like many other organizations, the MHAAC has limited effectiveness and in many cases serves to further disadvantage those with mental illness. According to the Alliance for Mental Health, “MHAA often operates as a lobby group, making its arguments known to politicians and the general public but without putting its ideas into practice.” As a result, the organization does not put its full focus on national policy development.
In 2004, the Ohio Department of Health and Human Services launched the Preventing Alcoholic Beverage Commission (PABC) to coordinate efforts between the health department, mental health and addiction advocacy groups, alcohol and drug treatment facilities, educators and law enforcement.
According to the alliance, the Preventing Alcoholic Beverage Commission was designed to strengthen the Ohio Statewide Prevention Plan Against Drinking and Drug Abuse (PAPDA). The goal of the plan was “to reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths, increase the rate of alcohol treatment admissions, and decrease the number of emergency department visits related to alcohol misuse.” However, the coalition found that the three components of the PAPDA were not being met.
According to the MHAAC, “the lack of coordination between the three components of the OHSA prevents the system from functioning as smoothly as it should.” The alliance has been pushing for better communication between the mental health and addiction advocacy groups and the Department of Health and Human Services.
They believe that the lack of coordination is leading to gaps in the way that mental health professionals are able to provide quality care to addicts and their families post traumatic stress. The MHAAC has also been working with state and local government officials to create interdisciplinary coalitions that will increase the effectiveness of county and state mental health and addiction services.
In order to build on the success of the Cincinnati MHAAC, advocates in several other cities have been working hard to create similar coalitions. According to the Alliance, cities including Philadelphia, Columbus and Toledo are working together on a project called Triad of Treatments.
The Triad will monitor all mental health and addiction treatment data in the city, including those provided by the local hospitals and clinics. The coalition will identify practices and policies that are not working effectively and will try to encourage the integration of those treatments that are working. Other cities and states are expected to join the triad in the coming years.
According to the MHAAC, advocates believe that more people need access to high-quality mental health and addiction services. They feel that an increased focus by advocates in cities and across the country will help ensure that these services can be made available to people who need them.
In addition to having the data collected and published, the Triad of Treatments will work with mental health and addiction specialists to create new strategies for treating mental health disorders and addictions. If everyone across the country worked together, advocates believe that the number of individuals seeking mental health services would rise. However, if each town refused to pool resources, then there would be a decreased capacity for those who do need the help.
The mental health and addiction advocacy coalition has been successful in making Cincinnati a city that works in concert with other organizations. It is hoped that other cities and counties will become successful as well. According to the Alliance, the Triad will continue its work as long as it is effective.
The group is also planning to hold national conferences to bring mental health professionals together with addiction specialists to share information about the problems and hope for improvement. The alliance is also working on national model programs that will bring professionals together to design programs for communities in major cities.