The criteria for treatment in community-based mental health centers have stiffened. I hear horror stories of individuals who experience a psychotic melt down and in seeking help find themselves behind bars. Nothing seems to get better.
The closure of Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital wasn’t a seamless and transparent operation as Romans were told by state officials. New community-based programs were not tested before being deemed operational. Our county jail has made modifications to accommodate additional inmates with mental illness. Yes, jails across the nations house more people with severe mental illness than do mental health treatment centers. Sad.
The Rome affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) advocates for better treatment for people with mental illness. Since mental illness affects the entire community, we think the solution to the many woes lies within the community.
Did you know that $60 billion is lost annually in job productivity due to absenteeism caused by mental health issues? Guess what? Many of the large businesses have wellness programs but leave out mental health. Seems they need education, and it would be advantageous to adopt the following adage: There ain’t no health without mental health.
I believe we can forge change, but only through partnerships among community stakeholders. As one in four Americans deal with a mental health disorder in any given year, the number of stakeholders should be huge.
NAMI seeks partners. Show your support by participating in two events during MIAW. First, attend the candlelight service as part of the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Understanding and Recovery Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 6-7 p.m. in the chapel of First Baptist Church Rome, 100 E. Fourth Avenue. Second, attend or support the inaugural NAMI Walk in Rome on Saturday, October 13 at Georgia Highlands College. Sign up at www.namiwalks.org/rome.