Invite Your Legislative to The Georgia Behavioral Health Legislative Caucus

August 13, 2010

From a NAMIGA email:

The Georgia Behavioral Health Caucus is fast approaching. It is on Thursday, August 19, 2010. NAMI Georgia needs you to invite your legislator to attend. They have received an invitation from NAMI Georgia in late July. Hearing from you now would help them make the decision to attend. Please pass this along to your members and urge them to contact their legislators immediately.

Below is a link to help you identify your legislators. You simply put in your zip code and find your legislators.

This is the fourth in a series of caucuses over the past year to inform the Georgia Legislature on critical issues related to our behavioral health system. The agenda for the Caucus is attached. Among the timely topics addressed at the Caucus will be an update on the status of the federal USDOJ lawsuit, and we will hear about the serious impact of untreated mental illness on our state’s court system and cost-effective programs that are working to address those problems, such as mental health courts.

Since the deinstitutionalization of mental health in the early 1960’s, Georgia has grown about 30 percent in population, yet funding for mental health services has declined. We are ranked 41st in funding. This is one factor that has contributed to our present crisis: unsafe state hospitals, jails, prisons and emergency rooms crowded with citizens who were not able to get mental health treatment in their communities, and over 20,000 people without homes.

The creation last year of the new Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is only the first step in improving our system of care for our most vulnerable citizens. Advocate groups and individuals who make up the Georgia Behavioral Health Legislative Caucus share a concern that there are not adequate community-based services for those in state hospitals and other “deep ends,” to be discharged to; therefore making recovery from their illnesses even more unreachable.

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