Local mental health organizations react to HB 1013

Georgia House of Representatives Speaker David Ralston announced major mental health reform legislation Wednesday.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Georgia House of Representatives Speaker David Ralston announced major mental health reform legislation Wednesday.

House Bill 1013 has support from both political parties, including Majority Leader Jon Burns and Minority Leader James Beverly.

The bill will increase client access to care, ensure mental health parity for providers and clients, strengthen workforce development initiatives, expand transparency and accountability for consumers and enhance resources for frontline responders and communities.

“I want to be very clear on this, there is no issue this session more important to me than this issue,” Speaker Ralston said.

Mental health initiatives like Macon Head Space and Macon Mental Health Matters have been at the forefront of addressing mental health problems locally. With events like mental health pop-up gyms, they’ve been able to provide free mental health services like therapy and yoga to areas that might not have had them before.

Andrea Cooke, the Program Director for Macon Mental Health Matters, says if House Bill 1013 passes, they could potentially access state funding to help them expand their reach.

“There are smaller counties surrounding us that need access to mental health services as well,” Cooke said. “We should really be thinking about the fact that we should be expanding services to people who touch our county.”

Nancy Cleveland, the Executive Director for Macon Headspace and allied partner for Macon Mental Health Matters, says she was ecstatic to see the announcement of House Bill 1013. She says it could mean more funding for local mental health programs.

“We could give even more activities, more staff, just more to our community and we deserve that,” she said. “Everyone doesn’t know how to treat their mental health, but we’re all human, and it’s okay not to be okay. With that funding we can really get to the people that need it most.”

Speaker Ralston will assign House Bill 1013 to the House Health and Human Services Committee for consideration.

The next mental health pop-up gym is on February 26 at Freedom Park in Macon. You can go to the Macon Mental Health Matters website for more information on the services they offer.

Categories: Bibb County, Featured, Georgia News, Local News, Unpublished, WMGT

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