I got a message a couple days ago from NAMI workers about the Department of Human Resources that is very sad and upsetting. It is important information, so I felt compelled to show it here:
> A DHR spokesperson admits that the DHR
> Blueprint really is NO plan—it is only a PowerPoint Presentation that
> an employee made. The DHR is “making it up as they go along”. It
> really IS an “ever changing” policy. Their doublespeak press releases
> say /they aren’t “closing” the hospital, they are repurposing it./ In
> regular English it means if anyone needs more intensive treatment,
> they will have to go at least 2-1/2 hours away. Community treatment to
> DHR is a few added services to the community, (which are needed more
> than ever because of 20 years of DHR cutbacks to mental health
> services in our communities).
> Please know that the ACT Team, Mobile Crisis Team and Crisis
> Stabilization Units ARE needed – especially in a time where DHR has
> removed the “true” community services. NAMI has requested ACT, Mobile
> Crisis and CSUs for years. We NEVER said those services should be in
> lieu of hospital beds in the community. Hospital beds are part of a
> full continuum of care that should be provided by the State of Georgia
> for the biological disease more commonly known as mental illness. IF
> the State provided the full continuum of care, it would cost the State
> $1.00 for every $7.00 that they are at present paying. They always
> would have been able to reduce psychiatric hospital beds due to a
> decreased need.
> We need to ask the Governor and his staff to have the * signing of HB
> 228 removing us from DHR with a great deal of celebration, not a quiet
> ceremony as is planned. * Georgia has made a huge step forward in
> beginning to fix the mental health system in our state.
> * Please call the Governor and Lt. Governor’s Offices with the
> following messages (in your own words)--or cut and paste using the
> links below: *
> * Gov Sonny Perdue Phone: (404) 656-1776 *
> * Lt. Gov.Casey Cagle Phone: * * (404) 656-5030 *
> 1) THANK YOU for supporting the legislation removing us from DHR and
> please enact it immediately before more harm is done by DHR
> 2) Please name Gwen Skinner as Department of Behavioral Services and
> Developmental Disabilities Commissioner effective immediately. She can
> “hit the ground running” and she has the respect of legislators,
> consumers and advocates alike.
> 3) Please do not allow any more hospital “repurposing” by DHR until
> all effective community resources are in place (not just the ones and
> the few that Commissioner Walker has added in order to diffuse
> objections over the loss of hospital beds). We need to see the PLANs
> and the backup PLANs when the Blueprint “PLAN” doesn’t work.
> 4) Please call all of your legislators (State Representatives and
> State Senators) to ask them to *properly fund* the new Department. By
> doing this, they will SAVE Georgia money, not cost it more.
> There has been a direct correlation between increased incarcerations
> as institutions have been emptied. The answer is to decrease hospital
> beds because effective treatment, education and support has been given
> IN THE COMMUNITY. We need to get Georgia out of a crisis mode,
> failure-driven method of delivering mental health services which has
> been proven to not work. Georgians deserve a better MH Report Card
> Grade than * D * .
> */ Medical treatment cannot be delivered in a black and white manner -- /*
> */ especially when it involves GRAY MATTER /*
OK, I would just like to vent my great dislike for Perdue here. Where I work (which is a nonprofit agency that works to prevent child abuse) we have a program called Healthy Families. These workers visit parents and children who are at risk for abuse, poverty, etc. in their homes and teach them parenting skills, discipline techiniques, etc. This program has lost a LOT of money this year because of our ever-industrious governor. He took the program that previously funded Healthy Families and put all of its money into another program called Governor's Office for Children and Families. He then put a 25-year-old woman, who has no credentials other than being his wife's assistant in charge of these millions of dollars (OUR dollars, mind you). She doesn't even have an office. Furthermore, if anyone tries to speak with him about this, he becomes "very sensitive". This is a direct quote from people who have dealt with him on this issue. I guess I'd be "sensitive" too if I'd put millions of tax dollars in the hands of a woman who has no talents other than making appointments, tanning, and shopping. Can someone say "mistress"? This long rant to say, you're absolutely right, we need more money going into mental health and families, but I guess we won't get that until he's gone.
I think that's why it's important to note that every time NAMI asks people to talk to the governor or other people in places of power, it always advises people to thank them, i.e., speak to them by addressing their ego. As in,
"Thank you, Mr. Perdue, for signing this bill. What you have done is so wonderful that I bet you would just love to see this bill succeed in every way, which will only happen if you graciously use your abilities as governor to speed up the process of making Gwen Skinner the head of this new department. I know you can do it, because you are just that awesome!"
Okay, so that might be a little bit of overkill, but you get the idea.