Drastic Reductions in Community Public Mental Health Funding in Maryland Result in Fewer, More Expensive Services for the Poor and Innovative Approaches to Promoting Health Practices

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Financing for community public mental health services in Maryland has been and will be decreased drastically through 2006. This will result in fewer community services and increases in more expensive residential services, including incarceration. It will also result in greater levels of violence, child abuse, and suffering. Dr. Seifert of ESPS continues to advocate for high quality services for all citizens. She has also entered the self-help arena with a new CD, "Pathways to Peace" which combines the benefits of guided imagery, relaxation techniques, introspection, and journaling.

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The President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health stated that the Mental Health system in the US is weak and in disarray. Funding for mental health services, while vital to individual and community well-being, has been drastically decreased in many states in these financially challenging times. While Dr. Kathryn Seifert continues to advocate for systems reform, it has become necessary to be creative in looking for ways to survive financially and share mental health information with the public. Dr. Kathryn Seifert has joined the self-help industry to make materials for mental health inexpensively available to large numbers of peoeple. While not a substitute for therapy, self-help materials can be an adjunct to an overall health promoting regimin.

To that end, Award winning Kathryn Seifert, a psychologist and Suzanna Mallow, a musician and director, have teamed up to create "Soulight Publishing: Empowering the global community...one person at a time." Soulight has just released Dr. Seifert's latest CD: Pathways to Peace: A Journey of Discovery with the Wise Old Woman Within. The CD has two tracks. The first track is a guided imagery, relaxation exercise with a background of the softly, soothing music of Vinny Hazeltine. The second track is comprised of Vinny's rich and enchanting music.

Dr. Seifert, a psychotherapist specializing in family violence and trauma, has been writing spiritual poetry and self-help articles for nearly 30 years. Pathways to Peace is the first in a series of guided imagery and journal sets. This exciting new concept in self-help, combines the benefits of guided imagery, relaxation techniques, introspection, and journaling. Lisa Ali's beautiful, inspirational and haunting pictures showcase the guided journal, a new concept in introspection to create peace within each person. The CD is the first in a series. The second CD to be released this year will focus on coping with loss and grieving.

Soulight Publishing is a new enterprise for Eastern Shore Psychological Services (ESPS), a multidisciplinary private and public mental health practice created by Dr. Seifert on Maryland's rural Eastern Shore. ESPS provides a variety of mental health, forensic, prevention, and case management services in Talbot, Wicomico, and Somerset Counties.

ESPS had inauspicious beginnings with 5 employees in one site in 1999. The company grew to 110 employees and 4 sites in 2003. The mission of ESPS is to provide the highest quality of mental health services based on research to all people who need it, regardless of the ability to pay. The fundding reductions in the public mental health system in Maryland have made that mission almost impossible. Funding cuts have resulted in a reduction of 30 ESPS employees in 2004. The State of Maryland has projected more massive cuts in 2005-2006. Mental Health advocates worry that these cuts in community and preventive care will result in greater numbers of hospitalizations, incarcerations, emergency room visits, and deaths at a greater cost than community care. Dr. Seifert has reported, "The system is upside down. Supporting a healthy mental health system is good for community, family, and individual health and reductions in violence." She has called on each person to strengthen their community's Mental Health system, either through advocacy, financial support, or innovation.

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Kathryn Seifert
ESPS
(410) 334-6961
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