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Mental Health Policy Teaching Module

This teaching module, with teaching notes, assigned readings, and a class exercise introduces aging-related issues and mental health policy. The module encourages advocacy for service delivery to older adults, especially as it relates to the allocation of resources and California Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act. The readings present a comprehensive overview of aging-related policy and the intersection with mental health. The limitations of Medicare and Medicaid are reviewed, and evidence-based practice is discussed. Additionally, the readings identify service gaps in the availability and delivery of mental health services to older adults while also identifying barriers to access, organizational policies and procedures, fragmentation, discrimination, and disparity of service as it relates to elders, ethnic minorities, and people of color. The in-class exercise is designed to give students the experience in prioritizing service needs within the context of budgetary limitations while offering an exploration of the barriers to access of mental health services. Workforce and caregiver capacity, application of the Recovery Model, and provisions for effective long-term care are covered. Pretests and posttests for knowledge of mental health policy are offered.

Competencies Addressed in This Module:

  1. Assurance of appropriate access, utilization, continuity, coordination, and monitoring of the continuum of public resources for older persons including community-based care, residential care, nursing home, and health/mental health services.
  2. Development of program budgets that take into account diverse sources of financial support for older adult services.
  3. Development of strategies to improve laws and public policies related to older adults.