The intent of this letter is to alert our citizens to a serious crisis confronting the state of Georgia.
Our citizens who live with mental illness are at this moment being neglected. Those who suffer from chronic and severe mental illnesses are being short changed by the system. Many are seen in emergency rooms or are sent to over-populated jails and prisons. Many journey to our regional hospitals already understaffed and facing other significant shortages.
Some are left to the confines of a lonely apartment, isolated without adequate supervision and living with their "mental demons" to possess them. The National Alliance for Mental Illness recently concluded a scientific study on the care of the mentally ill in this country. The results are shocking.
A grade was assigned to each state. None was awarded an A. Nineteen states, included Georgia, were awarded a grade of " D."
This information can be found on the NAMI website.
Being made aware of this deplorable condition foisted on our Georgia citizens the General Assembly acted and proposed a bipartisan commission to assess and remedy these conditions.
House and Senate conferees submitted the final draft as a resolution (SR 363 ).
The governor vetoed this legislation, saying informally that members from the executive were not included --- though this is "hearsay."
I am sure members of NAMI and concerned citizens do not accept the preservation of the "status quo." I am equally perplexed by the silence from our legislators as SR 363 was voted on by a super majority.
Do they not care? I am a retired mental health professional and I am keenly aware of the shortages and termination of important programs visited on our facilities.
Frankly I have serious doubts about those whose directives flow down from the bureaucracy.
Their goals, while noteworthy, are permeated with political objectives and do not address ethical concerns nor scientific objectivity.
Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the community. Let us care!
Jim Norris, M. Ed.
St. Simons Island