Events, Other Voices

Crucial Conversation – Building a 21st Century System for Serving People with Mental Illness

“No more excuses: Building a lawful, 21st Century system for serving people with mental illness.”

Federal law has long commanded the states to deinstitutionalize persons with mental illness; it’s illegal to use federal money to gather up such individuals and lock them away in big hospitals as was the favored practice during the last century. Unfortunately, building a vibrant, modern and lawful alternative to the old model is challenging. Every individual and family is different and solutions need to be person-centered.

These challenges are made even tougher when state leaders refuse to tackle the situation head-on and, instead, rely upon quick fixes and half measures. Sadly, this is the longstanding situation in North Carolina, where more than 8,000 individuals are inappropriately housed in large adult care facilities originally designed for senior citizens.

Recently, federal officials announced that they were investigating North Carolina’s treatment of these individuals to see if public dollars have been spent in violation of the law. Clearly, something must be done (and soon) to address this situation.

So, what should be done? When should we start? How much will it cost?

Come and hear about the answers to these and other related questions from one of the nation’s most experienced experts in the field, Joshua Norris.

Norris has served as the Director of Legal Advocacy for The Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO) — a nonprofit that has been in the midst of many of the same battles that now confront North Carolina surrounding services to persons with mental illness — since 2004. As legal director for Georgia’s protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities and mental illness, he supervises GAO’s legal and legislative advocacy and provides direct support to its Investigations Team and the seven separate programs operated by the GAO.

Norris will be joined by one of the nation’s best respected and most experienced advocates for person with disabilities, the Executive Director of Disability Rights North Carolina, Vicki Smith.

Don’t miss this chance to hear from a recognized national expert on this urgent problem.

Co-sponsored by Disability Rights NC.

Click here to register for this event.

When: Thursday, September 29 – Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m. and the program will start at noon. (Please note: We apologize for the conflict this date poses for those celebrating Rosh Hashanah. We regret this careless error. We do  expect to make the program available via video for later viewing.)   

Where: Marbles Kids Museum, 201 E. Hargett St. in downtown Raleigh.

Click here for directions and information about convenient parking options.

Cost: $10 – includes a box lunch.
Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com.

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