January 19, 2007

Mental Illness Advocates Speak Out in North Carolina

A large crowd of concerned citizens attended the 29th Annual Legislative Breakfast for Mental Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, partially sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Knowing that legislators need to hear from their constituents about the need for housing, services and education for people with mental illnesses, and how the lack thereof affects not only them, but their families as well, they had a chance to be heard.

The Herald-Sun (Orange county, North Carolina) reported that the response of legislators was to encourage the group there to help other districts organize and lobby their legislators, and to attend legislative meetings to convince the General Assembly that tax money should be spent for this purpose, with Rep. Verla Insko stating:

"Legislators need to hear about that at every oversight committee meeting and they need to hear from people all over the state."

Guest speaker, Hillsborough author Lee Smith, gave suicide statistics a more visceral impact by couching them in terms of immediacy:

"In the next 42 seconds, before I finish reading this page, someone in the United States will try to kill themselves. About every two hours, a young person will succeed."

She continued by telling about the life of her own son with schizophrenia, concluding with the difficulty most people have navigating America's mental health care system. She pointed out that one in five families being affected by mental illness is a lot and help is needed.

Read the Original Article: Mental illness advocates speak out

Additional Reading:
North Carolina Housing Mentally Ill in Nursing Homes
Crisis for North Carolina's Mentally Ill Due to Funding Shortfall
North Carolina Patients discharged to homeless shelters


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