Advocacy by and for People with ABI (Acquired Brain Injury)
Public Policy of the Brain Injury Network Policy dated 6-13-09
Department of Mental Health: The appropriate department for rehabilitation or community reintegrative services should not be a Department of Mental Health. Brain Injury includes more than "mental health" issues. It includes physical, perceptual-motor, somatosensory and other issues. We are concerned that Departments of Mental Health do not have sufficient institutional expertise about brain injury, nor do they employ persons with sufficient expertise about these additional aspects of brain injury, to properly implement, oversee or execute brain injury community reintegrative or rehabilitation programs.
Additionally, we have noted that in the last U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant cycle out of all of the Traumatic Brain Injury Implementation grants (34 states and the District of Columbia) only one grant was to a state Department of Mental Health (that state being California). Most of the other grants were to Departments of Health, Departments of Human Services, Departments of Rehabilitation Services, Departments of Public Health, and the like.
Any department having oversight responsibilities for brain injury programs should have staff trained in all aspects of brain injury issues, not just mental illness or mental disorder training.
Note: Apparently in late 2009 California turned its brain injury program over to the Department of Rehabilitation. The web sites of both Department of Mental Health and Department of Rehabilitation don't reflect that as yet. We will wait and see.