NAMI Georgia is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a grassroots organization dedicated to support, advocate, educate and research best practices for individuals and families affected by mental illness. Advocacy is a vital part of our mission.
The 2016 NAMI Georgia Legislative Priorities outlines key objectives and policy positions that support our goal of ensuring that people living with mental illness receive the treatment and supports necessary to recover and lead full and satisfying lives as valued members of the community.
NAMI Georgia takes positions as specific issues or legislation arise; however this document outlines our key policy objectives:
- End inappropriate incarceration of individuals with mental illness. Become involved in Stepping Up Initiative! Continue ODR NIMH and Probations!
- Expand accessible Accountability Courts/Mental Health Courts for all Georgia counties.
- Provide appropriate, affordable housing for people living with mental illness.
- Ensure access to effective community mental health programs.
- Improve mental health services for children, youth and young adults
1. End inappropriate incarceration of individuals with mental illness including funding Opening Doors to Recovery NIMH and Probations (DCS).
Disproportionate numbers of people with mental illness are in our criminal justice systems, often as a result of untreated or undertreated illness. NAMI Georgia, the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) have been engaged in expanding activities to support the re-entry of inmates with behavioral health challenges into community life. NAMI Georgia advocates for increased funding for housing, supportive employment, and service delivery to support the re-entry of inmates with mental illness into community life and advocates that such services should be integrated into the existing provider system of care.
Stepping Up is a national initiative to divert those with mental illness from incarceration into treatment. Get involved.
2. Expand accessible Accountability Courts/Mental Health Courts for all Georgia counties.
All persons with serious mental illness who find themselves in the judicial system in Georgia should have the option to access an Accountability Court/Mental Health Court.
3. Provide appropriate, affordable housing for people living with mental illness.
Lack of safe and affordable housing is one of the most significant barriers to independent living for people with serious mental illness. Without housing, too many cycle in and out of homelessness, incarceration, shelters, emergency departments, and hospitalization—or remain institutionalized. Georgia’s Olmstead settlement has paved the way to developing integrated community-based housing for many individuals living with mental illness. Georgia must plan for the future and work to ensure that all people with mental illness living in the state have access to appropriate, affordable housing.
4. Ensure access to effective community mental health programs in all 159 counties.
The right treatment at the right time helps children and adults living with mental illness experience success and get on with their lives—and we all benefit. Unfortunately, many don’t get the mental health services they need to be productive and healthy. While DBHDD through the GA DOJ settlement has made improvements in the array of proven mental health services, such as supported housing, crisis services, care coordination and case management, medications, intensive home and community-based services and peer support services, mobile crisis, and supportive employment it is essential that all Georgians have access to a balanced array of effective services and supports for people affected by mental illness through public mental health programs. In our state, the shortage of mental health professionals must be addressed. Finally, NAMI GA supports DBHDD’s Amended FY 2015 and FY 2016 Appropriations requests.
5. Improve mental health services for children, youth and young adults.
During the past year, NAMI Georgia, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia, Georgia State University, DBHDD, Georgia Department of Education, AADD, and GBI have been engaged in activities to support youth with mental health challenges through the development of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Youth Curriculum. NAMI Georgia supports increased funding that support the reentry of youth with mental health challenges into community life, improve mental health and support services for children and youth – including youth transitioning from the Department of Family and Children’s Services ages 17 and above, and treatment courts for children, youth and young adults.
PLEASE SUPPORT FAMILY INVOLVEMENT BILL HB 705