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Rosalynn Carter and New Georgia Mental Health Commissioner Frank Berry to Co-Host Town Hall on Access to Mental Health Services in Georgia

Contact: Paige Rohe, The Carter Center, 404-420-5129,

ATLANTA…At a critical juncture in Georgia's efforts to restructure community access to quality mental health services, former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Frank Berry, the new commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), will co-host a public town hall meeting in Mrs. Carter's home region on Oct. 24 at Georgia South Technical College in Americus from 12:30-4:00 p.m. (additional details below).

In the two years since the landmark settlement between the State of Georgia, the Department of Justice, and local mental health stakeholders including The Carter Center, the state has implemented many programs to improve patient safety, hospital discharge planning, access to community-based services, and quality of care for some of the state's most vulnerable citizens.

In addition, The Carter Center has put forward a draft comprehensive plan to address the need for all Georgians to have mental health and addiction services in their communities. The plan focuses especially on populations not included in the settlement such as children, adolescents, and older adults.

The preliminary report, "Building a Vision for Community Services for Children, Adolescents and Adults with Behavioral Health Disorders in Georgia," is available on the Center's website,, and, in partnership with the DBHDD and others, has been presented for public comment in three regions across the state since 2011 (Cartersville, Atlanta, and Savannah).

The Americus town hall will allow individuals from this region to learn about the Carter Center's findings, as well as engage participants in developing recommendations for implementing behavioral health services in their local communities.

Community members will receive presentations from Rosalynn Carter, who began her 40-year mental health career hearing from local concerned citizens; Carter Center Mental Health Program Director Dr. Thom Bornemann; and DBHDD Commissioner Frank Berry. Participants will discuss how Georgia's behavioral health care system can be a model for other states.

DBHDD's Region Six includes west central Georgia. Much of the region is rural and challenged by serious shortages in the behavioral health workforce and lack of infrastructure, such as transportation, which are essential components to a successful community service system. Despite these barriers, providers and community service boards work in partnership with DBHDD to provide a reliable system of care.

When/Where: The town hall will take place on Oct. 24, 2012, from 12:30-4:00 p.m. at the Pope Technology Center at Georgia South Technical College, 900 S. Georgia Tech Pkwy., Americus, Ga.  Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. The public is requested but not required to RSVP to

Media are requested to RSVP to Paige Rohe (; 404-420-5129) by Oct. 23.

Town Hall Agenda:

11:30 – 12:30 p.m.


12:30 – 12:45

Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Leland Johnson, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Region Six coordinator
  • Rosalynn Carter, former first lady and Carter Center Mental Health Program founder

12:45 – 12:50

Introduction of Commissioner Frank Berry

  • Leland Johnson, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Region Six coordinator

12:50 – 1:20

Developing Community Recovery Oriented Services - Georgia's Behavioral Health System is Changing and It Needs You

  • Frank Berry, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

1:20 – 1:40

History of Vision and Vision Findings and Recommendations

  • Thomas Bornemann, Ed.D., director, Carter Center Mental Health Program

1:40 – 2:15

Examples of Regional Best Practices in Community Services

2:15 – 2:20

Workgroup Charge and Move to Work Groups

2:20 – 3:20


Workgroups Meet

Goal: To begin an ongoing process of developing and supporting priorities to improve community services for children and adults in DBHDD Region Six.


  • Adult and Older Adult Issues
  • Children and Adolescents Issues
  • Policy and System Issues
  • Correctional Issues

3:20 – 3:30

Move Back into Plenary

3:30 – 3:50

Workgroup Reports - (5 minutes each)

  • Leland Johnson, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Region Six coordinator

3:50 – 4:00


Editor's Note:

Carter Center Mental Health Program

Read Mrs. Carter's bio

Learn more about Frank Berry and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilites

Learn more about the Georgia settlement


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center. Follow us on Twitter @CarterCenter | Favorite us on Facebook | Join us on Causes | Watch us on YouTube

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