Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (photo -AP)

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday 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.”

The Commission received recommendations and feedback from multi-group agencies and behavioral health experts who will be implementing the key aspects of the plan.

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.
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Jeremy Spencer is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden  and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus will be local news, statewide education issues, and political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as a education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns.

Jeremy grew up in rural Southern Georgia and he has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, and a state education official.  Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. He and his wife have lived in Camden County for 16 years and they have two teenage children. Jeremy and his family attend Christ Church Camden in Kingsland, GA.


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