I love removing barriers: “Maggie Tolbert fights for access to mental health services: the best nurses

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Maggie Tolbert grew up in a small city in Alabama, the place Jim Crow legal guidelines nonetheless utilized. Blacks weren’t allowed to eat within the lunch counter on the native drug retailer, and the native hospital was separated.

These experiences led to her dedication to combat for equality in healthcare and to interrupt down limitations to care throughout her profession as a registered nurse.

“I wish to make it possible for it doesn’t matter what your share of life is, regardless of how a lot cash you might have, you might have entry to equal, high-quality behavioral well being care providers,” stated Tolbert, 64.

Tolbert is the winner of the Nurse Innovator Award for Finest Nurses at cleveland.com for her dedication to innovation.

Tolbert is the assistant chief scientific officer of the Cuyahoga County Council on Alcohol, Drug Habit and Psychological Well being Companies, which funds and displays public psychological well being providers, dependancy remedy, and restoration for the county’s residents.

She was honored for her work as challenge supervisor for the Cuyahoga County Diversion Middle, a 50-bed facility that gives a spot for individuals with signs of psychological sickness and/or dependancy to obtain remedy as a substitute of going to jail. Therapy prices are lined by Medicaid or the ADAMHS Board.

Whereas the conversion heart was within the planning levels, Tolbert was a key determine in bringing collectively a broad coalition that included regulation enforcement, psychological well being advocacy teams, ministers, and different group leaders to debate the kind of facility required and develop its requirements.

“We needed to make it possible for we received help and that it might meet the wants of the group,” she stated.

The ADAMHS Board of Administrators has appointed Oriana Home, which offers behavioral well being and group correction providers, to function the referral heart.

“Maggie’s scientific abilities had been vital to the event of the Cuyahoga County Transformation Middle requirements,” stated Mike Randell, govt vp of operations at Oriana Home, in an electronic mail. “Her information of behavioral well being practices and dedication to serving to people with psychological well being points helped us develop providers that had been vital to the maintenance and operation of the referral heart.”

Though she hasn’t labored straight with sufferers for years, she nonetheless will get calls from former sufferers’ relations asking for her recommendation. She makes use of her information of accessible assets to determine locations that may assist, even when the particular person doesn’t have insurance coverage.

Scott S. Oseki, CEO of the ADAMHS Cuyahoga County Board of Administrators, stated in an electronic mail.

“She is dependable, very educated and doesn’t let something get in the best way of her getting her work completed. I’m happy with her for thus many issues, particularly her work creating and supervising the Cuyahoga County Transformation Middle. Maggie deserves this award and our group is best due to her dedication.”

Tolbert additionally labored to make sure that the providers of the ADAMHS Board of Administrators had been equally out there on the West and East Aspect.

“It would not matter who you might be,” stated Tolbert, who lives in Cleveland Heights. “You’ll proceed to get service. And also you don’t should go 50 miles throughout the bridge to get that service.”

Senior Nurse Maggie Tolbert

“I really like eradicating limitations, as a result of I’ve all the time seen this (affected person) may very well be somebody in my household,” stated registered nurse Maggie Tolbert, assistant chief govt officer at ADAMHS in Cuyahoga County. Credit score: Julie E. Washington

Resolve issues and take away limitations

Tolbert stated that behavioral well being is commonly misunderstood. They inform sufferers and households that the affected person has a mind illness, and that they don’t seem to be accountable.

However that does not imply you’ll be able to’t do something (that will help you) perform as greatest you’ll be able to,” stated Tolbert, who additionally labored as a psychiatric nurse at college hospitals. “Behavioral well being nurses educate individuals learn how to carry out on the highest degree of efficiency they’ll do.”

Tolbert began on the ADAMHS board as a specialist scientific nurse 21 years in the past. She enjoys fixing issues at her job.

“I really like eradicating limitations, as a result of I all the time see that this (affected person) may very well be one in every of my household,” she stated. “How do I need my household to be handled? Typically with healthcare, it may be troublesome for those who don’t get to the proper particular person.”

In a earlier place as a behavioral well being nurse with the Ohio Visiting Nurses Affiliation, she visited sufferers who had been discharged from the hospital however nonetheless had despair or hallucinations. She helped with medicines and coordinating different medical care.

Tolbert remembers visiting an aged black lady to evaluate whether or not she was depressed. The lady and her home had been clear. When Tolbert requested if she had ever been sexually assaulted, the lady started to cry.

“She stated it was the primary time anybody had requested her about it,” Tolbert stated. “I assumed at her age, on the time, that these had been issues she did not discuss.” Tolbert urged the lady to deal with the early trauma that was contributing to her despair.

Tolbert plans to stay on the ADAMHS board till retirement.

“I actually assume God will inform me when it is time to transfer on,” Tolbert stated. “I do not imagine in staying without end.”

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