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Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 11:36am

Mental Health Report Almost Ready

An initiative led by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to plan a redesign of behavioral health services in Georgia is coming to a close.

The effort stems from Georgia's 2010 settlement with the Justice Department, in which the state agreed to dismantle its centralized hospitals for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled and move patients home or to smaller community-based centers.

The need for such services is getting more acute, said Carter Center consultant Anita Hakes.

"Our state is the home of many veterans coming home at larger numbers who are going to need mental health support in communities," Hakes said. "If we ignore this problem, the need for institutional care in hospitals and jails will continue."

The Carter Center has been holding regional town halls this year to get public input on their draft report. The 2010 settlement notably did not deal with children’s behavioral health, and Hakes said she's heard about some good models for children as she’s traveled the state.

"We have had a number of schools talking about a program called 'positive behavioral intervention and support' where there’s training of the teachers and the principles and the janitors to recognize kids who seem to be troubled," she said.

The Carter Center is holding two more town halls, in Albany Friday and in Augusta on December 18th.

Hakes said the Carter Center's recommendations for the state should be finalized by mid-January.

When/Where: The event will take place on Nov. 30, 2012, from 1-4:30 p.m. at the Thronateeska Heritage Center (Chautauqua Room), 100 W. Roosevelt Avenue, Albany, GA 31701. Registration will begin at 12:15 p.m.
The public is requested but not required to RSVP to