Arizona Public Health Association

Improving the Health of Arizona's Communities


Lunch & Learn Series: Mental Health Policy

  • 17 Aug 2017
  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


Registration is closed

About the Presenter: 


  • Marjorie L. Baldwin is Professor in the Department of Economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. Dr. Baldwin is a health economist who has devoted a major part of her career to studying work disability and disability-related discrimination. She is the author or co-author of more than 50 articles and book chapters on the topic. Professor Baldwin’s research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and the National Institute of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, among others. She is currently principal investigator for a four-year study on disclosure of serious mental illness in the workplace, sponsored by NIMH. She is author of the book, Beyond Schizophrenia: Living and Working with a Serious Mental Illness, in which she describes the barriers facing persons with serious mental illness in the community and the workplace, from the perspective of both researcher and parent. Professor Baldwin is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, the American Society of Health Economists, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and holds an adjunct faculty position with the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health.

  • Webinar Description: For the majority of civilized history, our treatment of persons with serious mental illness has been misguided at best, cruel and inhumane at worst. Thankfully, the psychiatric hospitals of today are nothing like their predecessors of 100 years ago. Today we have laws that establish the rights of persons with mental illness to live in the community, to make decisions about their treatment, and to work in jobs for which they are qualified. Unfortunately, for too many persons with serious mental illness the laws have translated into: the right to live in a jail cell, or homeless on the street; the right to continue experiencing symptoms of psychosis, although effective treatments are available; and the right to work in a low-paid, low-skill job, dependent on government support. Today, persons with serious mental illness are no longer incarcerated in mental institutions for life, but they are still bound by low expectations, negative stereotypes, and the belief that they will never live a normal life.

    In spring 1999, I was abruptly thrust into the world of mental illness when my younger son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I was better prepared than most parents would likely be. As a health economist who studies discrimination against workers with disabilities, I was knowledgeable about the laws that protect my son’s rights. I had connections to the psychiatric community, and the means to ensure he received the best possible care. Still, my encounters with the mental health services system often left me angry, frustrated, and feeling that I was on my own in caring for my son.

    Based on my research and experience, this webinar describes current mental health policy from the dual perspectives of professional and parent. The presentation focuses on why the community mental health movement failed to achieve its goals, and what can be done to improve the mental health system today, so that persons with serious mental illness are better able to achieve their recovery goals.

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