Instances of mental health crises and suicides have been trending upwards for more than a decade in the United States. This has been accelerated over the past two years navigating through a pandemic. Marginalized groups continue to be disproportionately impacted and underserved including communities of color and LGBTQ+ youth and adults.
In response to this mental health crisis, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act was passed and signed into law in 2018. It set into motion years of planning and in 2020 Congress designated 988 as America’s suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline that went live July.
When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. This opportunity represents more than creating an easy-to-remember way to reach out for quality, accessible help. It also creates opportunities to strengthen whole person care, linking those in crisis to a wide range of community-based behavioral health services from crisis response to early intervention and prevention services.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen and expand our behavioral health system of care. The federal government has left the majority of implementation, and funding, up to the states. Join our panel of thought leaders and experts to learn more about 988, its impact in communities and how philanthropy can help ensure maximum impact while addressing disparities.
Rep. Rob Nosse, Oregon State House of Representatives
Representative Nosse currently works at the Oregon Nurses Association where he brings nurses together with a strong, united voice to advocate for themselves and their patients. After graduating from Miami University, Rob worked as an advocate for students as Executive Director of the Ohio Student Association. In 1992, Rob moved to Salem to serve as the Executive Director of the Oregon Student Association, where he worked to increase access to higher education for working students. Since leaving OSA, Rob has worked as a union representative and fought for equality and opportunity for middle class families.
Rob lives in SE Portland with his husband, Jim, and their two children. Rob and Jim have been active PTA members at Atkinson Elementary and Franklin High School. Rob is also active in his community through St. Philip Neri Church, a Catholic Church in SE Portland, where he serves on the Pastoral Council.
Lorez Meinhold, Executive Director of Caring for Denver Foundation
Lorez is the founding Executive Director of Caring for Denver Foundation to help address Denver’s mental health and substance misuse needs. The Caring for Denver Foundation funded opportunities totaling over $69 million since its inception to improve the mental health of Denver’s youth, reduce their risk of substance misuse, create greater public visibility around those issues to reduce stigma, support initiatives to divert those struggling with mental health and substance. Lorez has more than 20 years of health care policy and fundraising experience as a director of multi-lateral initiatives involving the public, private, and civic sectors at local, state, and national levels. Prior to joining Caring for Denver, Lorez served as Senior Policy Director at Keystone Policy Center, Senior Policy Director for two Governors in Colorado, Deputy Director for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and Senior Program Officer for the Colorado Health Foundation as well as founder of a nonprofit.
Rusha Grinstead, BH Crisis System & 988 Lead, Oregon Health Authority
Rusha’s passion and expertise lies in quality and operations improvement. In her role with Oregon Health Authority she manages and plans all the non-Medicaid federal funds for BH health that are received by Oregon. She collaborates with internal and external leadership and stakeholders to identify policy priorities and fund appropriate programs with these federal funds across the state: this includes substance use and mental health programs. She also leads the state Addiction and Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council (AMHPAC) which recommends BH policy changes to OHA leadership. She works very closely with SAMHSA , CMS and CDC to make sure Oregon is compliant and innovative in planning and investing in behavioral health across the state.
Rusha is especially interested in applying her expert level skills in data analysis and statistical methods to inform quality improvement in health care systems and organizations. She has more than 10 years of experience improving clinic level health care quality to impact community health at large and manages quality improvement strategies through a data driven process, and helps organization leaders strategize cost effective high quality care.