Carter Center Commends Eight Recommendations to Improve Mental Health Services for Children in Georgia

Dec. 14, 2017
Contact: Rennie Sloan, 404-420-5129,

ATLANTA…The Carter Center commends the hard work done by the Commission on Children’s Mental Health and the recommendations included in their final report. The commission, formed by Gov. Deal, released its report on Dec. 12 and outlines significant measures that will improve the mental health services available to children and adolescents in Georgia, including expanding school-based mental health services for children, creating initiatives for youth and young adults with severe mental illnesses, and increasing funding for suicide prevention.

Nearly 1 in 10 children experience a behavioral health need severe enough to impact their ability to function in school, home, and their community. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth age 9 to 17.

“The Carter Center applauds the work of the Commission on Children’s Mental Health and believes these recommendations will accelerate the improvement of mental health and well-being for children,” said Amb. (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, the Carter Center’s CEO.

The recommendations by the commission are expected to provide the legislature with a path forward for funding and legislation, as well as direction for the larger community with concrete ways to improve the child and adolescent mental health system in Georgia.

“We look forward to joining other stakeholders in advancing and implementing these strategic recommendations,” said Dr. Eve Byrd, the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program Director.

For the past six years, The Carter Center has used its Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum to address statewide behavioral health policy issues, especially child and adolescent issues. Since 2015, in collaboration with Casey Family Programs, the Center’s Mental Health Program developed a pilot program to improve the functioning and evaluate the effectiveness of four Children in Need of Services (CHINS) courts in their efforts to divert children and adolescents away from the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

Read the full report from the Commission on Children’s Mental Health >

The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program was established under the leadership of former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a long-standing champion for the rights of people with mental illnesses. The Mental Health Program works to promote awareness about mental health issues, inform public policy, achieve equity for mental health care comparable to other health care, and reduce stigma and discrimination against those with mental illnesses.

"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.