ADVOCATES BLAST FLORIDA SERVICES FOR MENTALLY ILL - Mitch Perry

03/18/04

This morning in Tallahassee, a coalition of mental health advocates announced a plan to increase access to mental health treatment and services in the state, and to show the effects of untreated mental illness on every community.

Ken Duckworth is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School..... And the national Medical Director for NAMI- the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill...

He says the state of Florida has not provided an adequate needs assessment for the mentally ill in the state (roll tape# 1 o.q. " consistent with good science")

3 years ago the Florida Commission on Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse told Governor Bush that the mental health system in Floridas is: complex, fragmented, uncoordinated, and often ineffective. Multiple programs, numerous and often conflicting funding streams, and beaurcratic

NAMI National Director Ken Duckworth says unfortunately, not much has changed for the mentally ill in that time (roll tape#2 o.q. "

George Thomas is the President of the NAMI in Hillsborough County.....He says another problem include the mentally ill caught up in the Prison system (roll tape#3 o.q." work best for them")

Organizers said that a report from the U.S. Surgeon General estimates that untreated mental disorders cost the nation more than $70 billion dollars annually to lost productivity......

NAMI Executive Director Ken Duckworth says he knows the state's financial resources are not unlimited when it comes to caring for the mentally ill, but says it behooves everybody if there is at least adequate funding (roll tape#4 o.q."could complicate that")

OUTRO: Advocates say that there are nearly a million Floridians with mental health problems, but only a small percentage of them are being adequately treated.

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