Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

October 24, 2012

Rosalynn Carter co-hosts Town Hall meeting at South Georgia Technical College

AMERICUS — Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter co-hosted a public town hall meeting on the South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) campus in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center building Wednesday.

The event was designed to examine some of Georgia’s most pressing mental health issues. It was co-hosted by Frank Berry, the newly appointed commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Lee Johnson, coordinator, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Region 6, had the opening remarks and then former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who is chair of the Carter Center Mental Health Task Force, took the stage.

The focus of the event was to discuss a Carter Center report detailing mental health, particularly in young people. 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,

In addition to the presentation and discussion of the report, attendees heard presentations from First Lady Carter, Thomas Bornemann, Ed.D., the Carter Center Mental Health Program director, and Commissioner Berry.

Berry made a presentation titled, “Developing Community Recovery Oriented Services — Georgia’s Behavioral Health System is Changing and It Needs You.”  He was followed by Thomas Bornemann, Ed.D., who presented on the “History of Vision” and Vision Findings and Recommendations.

Examples of regional best practices in community services were also highlighted at the town hall meeting. The best practice organizations included Stuart Perry of the Perry Wellness Center; Maj. Joseph Monts of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office on Crisis Intervention Training (CTI); Norman Davis of Accountability Courts; Dr. Robert Prehn of the Bradley Center Crisis Stabilization Unit; and Leonora Clarkson of the Griffin Spalding School District on Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports.

After the regional best practices in community services were recognized, different workgroups met to begin an ongoing process of developing and supporting priorities to improve community services for children and adults in DBHDD Region 6.

The working groups focused on Adult and Older Adult Issues; Children and Adolescents Issues, Policy and System Issues; and Correctional Issues.

Thomas Bornemann, Ed.D., closed out the meeting after each of the workgroups reported back on their sessions.

"West central Georgia and Americus have an important place in the Carter Center's history as our founder, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter got her start in mental health here,” Bornemann said. “Today, we are hoping to help the region and the entire state work together to build a quality mental health system. The community's outstanding response is very encouraging as is the continued commitment from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. We know we are making great progress and still have more work to do."


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