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 Tennessee

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Tennessee

Keep the Promise

Restore Funding to the Department of Mental Health to preserve community-based services for individuals with serious psychiatric conditions whose lives depend upon residential, community support services, and at times acute services. The mental health service system has been level funded during the 1990’s and dramatically cut over the past three years. 20,000 chronically mentally ill individuals are desperately waiting for DMH services, of which over 3,381 of them are waiting for residential placement. The lack of available DMH services severely impacts the care of individuals with mental illness, gravely affecting families and communities. These are in fact "Core Essential" services.

Access to Health Care Coverage and Medications: Mental health patients often do not have similar therapeutic effects from similar medications. Therefore, all anti-psychotics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants used for the treatment of mental illness must be made available to optimize success of treatment. Restricting access to mental health medications and medical treatments, especially those for acute illness, can easily require more costly inpatient treatments and emergency services in the long run.

Housing for People with Disabilities: Set aside at least 25% of the developed property value in cash to be used in a housing trust, or alternately set aside at least 25% of the housing developed from the liquidation and development of Medfield State Hospital. This state hospital was originally intended to serve the mentally ill, and with the advent of more cost effective, humane, community based services, it is now possible to consolidate the hospital and save valuable tax dollars. Yet this property much be converted to community resources for the mentally ill. Not only is this good economic and public policy, it is prudent and just. Support Senate Bill #734. This proposed bond bill recapitalizes the Facilities Consolidation Fund (FCF) and the Home Modifications Loan Program (HMLP). This bill also calls for the establishment of a housing production program for persons with disabilities, including elders, who are institutionalized or at risk of being institutionalized but who are not eligible for housing developed with FCF funds.

People with mental illness must have access to care. We strongly oppose limits to mental health treatment. Lack of access to appropriate treatment can quickly unravel and destroy lives. Treatment can mean the difference between hope and despair, struggle and recovery, and even life and death. We urge you to support these priorities and are happy to have an opportunity to meet with you.

More than 20,000 eligible, vulnerable individuals with mental illness are currently waiting on lists for services from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

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