Promoting Dignity, Stewardship and Justice in Behavioral Health Care

The Gospels include many stories of mentally ill persons who had been ostracized from society, condemned to a life of suffering, isolation and indignity. Jesus responded with compassion and healing, restoring these persons to health, their families and communities.

It is this example which Catholic health care seeks to embody by serving and advocating for those whose social condition puts them at the margins of society and especially vulnerable to discrimination. Persons diagnosed with psychiatric disorders are often among this group.

Data indicate that persons with mental illness suffer disproportionately from chronic disease, addiction, poverty, homelessness, incarceration and premature death, including death from accidents, homicide and suicide. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness results in more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. In the United States, mental disorders are among the costliest conditions, yet a large percentage of persons with serious mental illness go without care every year.

This webinar explores the stigma of mental illness and the ongoing challenges associated with access and reimbursement for behavioral health care. Presenters will discuss how Avera Health has addressed these challenges through a commitment to human dignity, stewardship and justice in the development, funding and provision of behavioral health services. Unique and emerging ethical issues in clinical behavioral health care will also be explored.

Presenters: Mary Hill, JD, BSN, MA, Vice President of Ethics, Avera Health, Sioux Falls, S.D. and Steve Lindquist, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services, Avera Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.

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