Mental health is an essential element for the overall wellbeing of individuals, and access to resources and support groups can have a major effect on healthcare for the citizens of Atlanta, Georgia. In the United States, people living in rural areas are less likely to seek out mental health specialists than those living in urban and suburban areas. This is why it is essential for states to provide adequate resources and support services to guarantee that everyone has access to the care they need. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is responsible for managing services for people with serious and persistent mental illnesses.
To make sure that requests for psychiatric hospitalization and crisis stabilization are submitted after the first request for community mental health services, DBHDD works together with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), the Georgia Department of Community Oversight (DCS) and the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network (GMHCN).In 1999, DBHDD developed the Georgia Peer Support Program as part of its emphasis on recovery-oriented programming. Community Support Teams (CSTs) provide community support to people who live in rural areas and require more than just a traditional outpatient setting to stay in the community. In 2001, Georgia was the first state to implement peer support as a billable Medicaid service under the Medicaid Rehabilitation Option framework. The Department also makes available SOAR-trained personnel in each region to help people enrolled in DBHDD services complete applications for benefits. The CVN focuses on improving mental health outcomes by creating a network of outpatient mental health clinics for veterans and their families in communities in need. Studies have demonstrated that peer support services can have a positive impact on quality of life by reducing the number of vital problems that occur.
However, according to a recent report, states such as Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia ranked among the lowest in terms of lacking an adequate number of providers, centers, and funds to support their populations. It is essential that these states continue to invest in mental health resources and support groups so that everyone has access to the care they need.