Last legislative session saw progress in efforts to make mental health care more accessible to Georgians. More recently, federal rollout of 988, a new emergency line for mental health emergencies, promises to help Georgians.

The panel: 

Judy Fitzgerald, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Monica Johnson, director, Division of Behavioral Health

Riley Bunch, @ribunchreports, public policy reporter, GPB News

Tamar Hallerman, @TamarHallerman, senior reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 


The breakdown: 

1. Bipartisan mental health bill seeks to improve Georgia's ranking on the issue.

Judy Fitzgerald says mental health services are never going back in Georgia.


2. Importance of the 988 crisis line in Georgia. 

Monica Johnson talks about how important 988 is for those who don't need law enforcement to respond to a mental health crisis.

3. Georgia faces challenges in recruiting mental health care professionals. 

  • HB 1013 authorizes loan forgiveness for people studying to become mental health professionals.
  • Fitzgerald highlights Gov. Brian Kemp's $5,000 increase to state employees as a recruitment tool. 

Monica Johnson on how she was prepared for working in the mental health field.

4. Which communities need the most help fighting the stigmas around mental health? 

  • Rural suicides have increase 8.3% in Georgia, according to the latest data available.
  • Monica Johnson says suicides increased within Georgia's Black population by 10% between 2019 and 2020. 


5. Tamar Hallerman fills us in on U.S. Rep Jody Hice fighting a subpoena. 

  • The subpoena is from the Fulton County grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 election in the state.

Tamar Hallerman on Hice's subpoena.


Wednesday on Political Rewind: The AJC's Greg Bluestein joins our Wednesday panel.