SAFE HARBOR AWARDED GRANT FOR IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH CARE
Safe Harbor, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that educates the public on non-drug treatments for mental health problems, was recently awarded a $25,000 grant by The California Endowment to improve care in the Los Angeles County Mental Health system. The California Endowment is the state's largest health foundation.
Earlier this year, Safe Harbor was the first to post on the Internet - at its site AlternativeMentalHealth.com - a document called the Medical Evaluation Field Manual. The manual, written by Dr. Lorrin Koran of Stanford University, is the result of a study commissioned by the California State legislature in the 1980s. The study found that nearly half of the physical ailments of the county mental health clientele were being MISSED in physical exams and medical workups. Dr. Koran's team developed simple methods for dramatically improving the quality of exams with minimal cost increases, and their results were published in the Medical Evaluation FieldManual. However, the manual was never implemented.
"Many mental problems are caused by treatable medical problems," said Dan Stradford, president and founder of Safe Harbor. If these medical problems can be spotted by proper physical exams, we can save a lot of people from spending a lifetime on psychiatric medication when they are, in reality, medically ill."
The California Endowment has provided Safe Harbor with a $25,000 grant to work up a plan on how the Medical Evaluation Field Manual can be implemented in Los Angeles County. "This is a wonderful opportunity for us and the county. We are very grateful for The California Endowment's support," said Stradford. "Not only will improved exams get patients correctly diagnosed, but they will no doubt save lives for those who have life-threatening ailments that, in the past, might have been missed.
This project fully aligns with Safe Harbor's mission of improving the quality of life and helping to reduce the unnecessary use of psychiatric medication whenever possible."
Safe Harbor was founded in 1998 by Stradford, a retired corporate executive, who, as a child, saw his father decline rapidly after treatment with electroshock therapy and heavy drugs, causing the family to fall into poverty. The group's web site, AlternativeMentalHealth.com, is the largest of its kind inthe world.
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