OHA fights stigma, celebrates recovery

Submitted by OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY

Oregon Health Authority this week released a video featuring stories of two Oregonians living with mental illness to raise awareness, fight stigma, and encourage struggling individuals to seek help.

The journey is a not an easy journey," Braunwynn Franklin, of Portland, says in the video. "It’s not a straight line. But we can overcome and we do recover."

In the video, both Franklin and Ramiro "RJ" Navarro, of Salem, describe how finding help has allowed them to discover their strengths and successfully manage their challenges.

One in six Oregonians live with mental illness, and individuals continue to face systemic and cultural barriers to accessing the services and supports they need to live a full life.

"It is time to end stigma," said Steve Allen, state behavioral health director. "If you’re struggling, seek help. Know that you aren’t alone."

Only 50 percent of adults in Oregon who received mental health services were satisfied with services, according to the 2017 Oregon Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program Survey. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults in Oregon, according to the state vital statistics. Only 11 percent of Oregonians dependent on illicit drugs receive treatment, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Through increased investments in community mental health resources in recent years, Oregon has seen increased availability of mobile crisis services, supported housing and peer-delivered services.

"OHA envisions a behavioral health system that provides services and supports in the right place at the right time," Allen said. "While we have made progress, we still need to do more to help individuals and families thrive in their home communities, schools and jobs, while preventing crises. We look forward to continuing to work with consumers, advocates and families to improve our system."

During this legislative session, OHA has proposed investments in:

  • Intensive in-home behavioral health services for children and youth.

  • Youth and adult suicide intervention and prevention.

  • More mental health services in schools.

  • Community restoration for misdemeanor defendants experiencing mental illness.

In addition, integrating behavioral health, physical and oral health to improve health outcomes is among the top policy objectives of the next phase of the Oregon Health Plan.

To find services and treatments available in your local community, go to the OHA website. If you are in crisis, call the Lines for Life 24/7 lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text "273TALK" to 839863.