From the office of Gov. Nathan Deal:
Gov. Nathan Deal announced the release of the report from the Commission on Children’s Mental Health, a commission created via executive order in June to provide recommendations for improving state mental health services for children. The report offers eight recommendations that focus on critical areas of behavioral health needs including suicide prevention, school-based mental health and telemedicine infrastructure.
“I am grateful for the tireless work and thorough research done on behalf of young Georgians by the Commission on Children’s Mental Health in preparing this report,” said Deal. “At its outset, I charged the Commission with assessing Georgia’s approach to evaluating children’s mental health and recommending appropriate steps we can take in the future. These recommendations will provide guidance for our efforts to improve the continuum of care for children’s behavioral health services. I look forward to reviewing these recommendations to see how we may achieve our objectives and provide all children in Georgia with the best opportunities to grow up as healthy, productive members of society.”
In creating the report, the Commission received recommendations and feedback from around the state. Georgia’s Interagency Directors Team, a multi-agency group of child and adolescent experts established by the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council, will be charged with facilitating an implementation plan for the recommendations in the report.
The recommendations outlined in the report include:
- Increasing access to behavioral health services for Georgia’s school-aged children by sustaining and expanding the Georgia Apex Program for school-based mental health.
- Fund Supported Employment/Supported Education programs for youth and emerging adults with severe mental illness.
- Providing support for the development and implementation of additional levels of support within the behavioral health continuum of care for youth with the highest levels of need.
- Strategically increasing telemedicine infrastructure capacity for child-serving, community-based, behavioral health provider organizations in order to improve access to children’s behavioral health services.
- Investing in coordinated training for priority areas of interest and concern for the child-serving workforce, including clinical training in evidence-based practices, trauma-informed care and administrative practices that support the delivery of high-quality behavioral health services across service settings.
- Funding expanded provider training, fidelity monitoring, technical assistance and evaluation for evidence-based High Fidelity Wraparound.
- Supporting multi-pronged early intervention and prevention approaches to combat the opioid crisis among Georgia’s youth and emerging adults.
- Supporting a multi-pronged suicide prevention approach, including the expansion of prevention programming and expansion of Georgia Crisis and Access Line hours, to reduce rising suicide rates among Georgia’s youth and emerging adults.