Residents are being asked to participate in a regional “town hall” meeting Tuesday to discuss recommendations for improving community behavioral health services for children, adolescents and adults in the state.
The meeting at Augusta Technical College is the last of six such meetings held in the state since 2011.
Participants can comment on a preliminary report from the Carter Center recommending changes and “best practices” for Georgia’s psychiatric hospitals.
Lei Ellingson, of the Carter Center, said the report addresses mental health services for groups – such as children and adolescents – not covered in a state settlement with the federal government in 2010. That settlement was the result of a 2007 U.S. Justice Department lawsuit against Georgia concerning institutionalized adults. The settlement established specific annual deadlines for developing community services and for moving people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses from institutions into the community by July 2015.
“We need to really revamp the whole system because there really isn’t a system right now for children,” Ellingson said. “There are pockets of services that are doing really good work, but it is very much a case of where you live instead of statewide.”