The 26 community boards that offer services to Georgians with behavioral health problems and developmental disabilities would face new oversight under a state Senate bill introduced this week. The legislation follows recent trouble connected with one such community service board in Coastal Georgia. A September state report on Gateway Behavioral Health Services last year said its operation was riddled with financial irregularities and management problems.
An analysis of autopsy data by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation showed a 10 percent increase in the number of deaths where a prescription-drug overdose was the cause. More than 700 people died from overdoses in 2010, and three-quarters of those were the result of prescription drugs, mostly narcotic pain relievers.
A public-private collaboration wants to find Southeast Georgia's 100 most seriously mentally ill patients. The goal is to identify the area's most at-risk population for homelessness, jail or hospitalization -- and give them extra resources to stay out of trouble. Once indentified, patients will work with peer navigators to lower recidivism.
Georgia is in the process of reforming its mental health system after a federal lawsuit challenged poor conditions in state psychiatric hospitals. But students from the Medical College of Georgia are hoping to bring about changes at the street level by helping homeless people deal with mental illness before ending up in a state hospital.
A state psychiatric hospital in Augusta is getting a new infusion of staff thanks to a partnership with the Medical College of Georgia. The effort comes as the state deals with a federal lawsuit calling for mental health reform.