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Mental Health Funding Needed in North Carolina

Monday, June 27, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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Jack Register is a member of NASW-NC



Time Warner Cable News (Central NC)

RALEIGH - Funding for mental health initiatives continues to be a focus for leaders in our state.

Friday's gubernatorial debate highlighted the contrast of ideologies from both Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper, but one thing they both agree on is the need for more mental health funding.

"One thing we've got to do is make sure we provide the funding for mental health and substance abuse and addiction treatment," Cooper said.

"There is no discrimination when it comes to addiction and mental health issues," McCrory said Friday.

Proceeds from last July's sale of the Dorothea Dix property will help fund mental health initiatives.

The state budget is expected to allocate some of those funds to add hospital beds in rural hospitals for mental health patients.

McCrory has also prioritized setting funds aside.

"We're instituting firm recommendations. In my budget this year, we've increased the amount of mental health needs by $30 million," McCrory said.

However, mental health advocates say the state is still not meeting the great need for people who suffer from mental illness.

"If we lived in a perfect world and there was enough funding for absolutely everything, we would see the kind of dream we all have for folks who are affected by mental illness,” said Jack Register, Executive Director of NAMI NC. "What we say at NAMI is that everyone who struggles with a mental illness wants everything everybody else does."

He praises the state's support of the CIT, Crisis Intervention Training, programs for police officers and first responders and hopes to continue to receive support no matter who is leading the state in the future.

"Primarily, we have a crisis-based services array which is great and we need that, but we also need to be sure we are thinking about long-term chronic mental illness in the same way we think about other chronic diseases," Register said.


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