Local mental health organizations respond to HB 1013

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

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

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

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 improve resources for frontline responders and communities.

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

Mental health initiatives like Macon Head space and Mental Health Issues in Macon have been at the forefront of addressing mental health issues at the grassroots level. With events like pop-up gyms for mental health, they’ve been able to provide free mental health services like therapy and yoga to areas that may not have had them before.

Andrea Cooke, program director for Macon Mental Health Matters, said if House Bill 1013 passes, they could potentially access state funding to help expand their reach.

“There are smaller counties around us that also need access to mental health services,” Cooke said. “We should really think about the fact that we should extend services to people who affect our county.”

Nancy Cleveland, executive director of Macon Headspace and ally partner of Macon Mental Health Matters, says she was thrilled 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 it,” she said. “Not everyone knows how to deal with their mental health, but we are all human, and it’s normal to not be well. With this funding, we can really reach the people who need it most.

Speaker Ralston will refer House Bill 1013 to the House Health and Human Services Committee for review.

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

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