THURSDAY, MARCH 25, 2004
CONTACT: Steve Buck
March 25, 2004, Frankfort, Kentucky—NAMI Kentucky released The State of the Mental Health System in Kentucky in the state’s capitol today, as part of a national campaign to build community support for access to services and treatment for people with mental illness.
Nearly 80 thousand of Kentucky’s 4.65 million residents have a severe mental illness, yet most do not receive treatment.
"Every day, our communities witness evidence of the consequences to our communities of the neglect of services for people with mental illness," said Jim Dailey, Policy Director, NAMI Kentucky, and NAMI National board member.
Advocates and experts will present report findings to legislators and other policymakers on the scope of the mental health crisis in Kentucky, and recommend solutions that are evidence-based, cost-effective, and safe.
The report chronicles the results of an ineffective, insufficient mental health system and foreshadows the consequences that would result if Governor Fletcher’s plans to restrict access for Kentucky’s citizens even further are implemented.
The report serves to launch the Campaign for the Mind of America in Kentucky, promoting smart choices with the broadest benefits—the greater awareness of the cost of untreated mental illness.
Nationwide, untreated mental illness costs the nation more than $100 billion annually from lost productivity and diverted resources. The Campaign is creating unique partnerships among different sectors on the front lines that deal with the crisis. In Kentucky, the launch of the report coincides with the Lt. Governor’s celebration of the flying of the Mental Health Flag over the state capitol.
"While cutting mental health services and treatments may appear to be a good decision in tough budget times, we know the negative impact economically and in terms of human and community consequence is much greater," said Katrina Gay, Chief of Field Operations for NAMI.
"Community leaders such as your emergency room doctors, your law enforcement officers, and your teachers know the impact," said Gay. "We all must stand together."
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