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NAMI to hold mental healthcare forum in Jonesborough

Members of the Upper East Tennessee affiliates of the National Alliance on Mental Illness are joining forces with regional healthcare providers and state legislators to raise awareness of an impending crisis for mental healthcare in our region. 
This event is scheduled for March 26 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, which is located at 117 Boone Street.
The public is invited and encouraged to participate in this meeting that will be moderated by NAMI Upper East Tennessee Regional Coordinator Connie Whaley.
Area mental healthcare providers including Frontier Health and Mountain States Healthcare Alliance representatives will address the impact of proposed state budget cuts on patient care.
State Representatives Dale Ford, David Hawk, Matthew Hill and Tony Shipley will voice their views on these issues and respond to questions from attendees at this forum.
“In these times when public dollars are so scarce, a small investment in basic mental health treatment keeps members well and prevents much larger costs for hospitalization, emergency services or jail,” said Sita Diehl, executive director of NAMI Tennessee.
Carlos Whaley commented on the need for public awareness and involvement in dealing with these issues.
“It is the contention of NAMI members across ten counties in Upper East Tennessee that the public should fully understand this situation. Not providing adequate mental healthcare services will result in extraordinary additional costs for law enforcement and hospital emergency room care throughout this region,” he said. “This crisis is already compounded by budget reductions in law enforcement and declining revenue for hospitals because of the current recession.”
NAMI is a grassroots, self-help organization dedicated to improving quality of life for individuals with mental illness, their families and communities.