People involved with the Southeastern Center for Mental Health have money on the mind It has been a rough year for the area’s mental health services, but they are looking ahead to see where available money can best be used. A brainstorming session in Brunswick County Wednesday night helped prioritize.
A room full of mental healthcare consumers, their family members, workers, and providers were speaking up about where the state’s dollars are needed the most. At a public forum in Bolivia Wednesday night, they ranked the services on which next fiscal year’s dollars can best be spent.
Southeastern Center’s area director, Foster Norman said, “We have a limited amount of money and certainly with the state’s economic conditions, there’s going to be less money next year than we have this year.”
The hope is that brainstorming now can make it easier to allocate funds where they are most needed. “There’s really nothing, no hours, no anything, for our people that are in need and they just sit there and wait for funding to be open,” said Malinda Cody, a mental healthcare employee.
The general assembly has yet to determine just how much money the state’s Department of Health and Human Services will receive. “At that level, it’s determined how much money goes into community services and then each program across the state gets allocated a certain amount of funding,” Norman said.
Money is needed for mental health, developmental disability, and substance abuse programs. Cody added, “We’re just here to ask them if they could fund us some money so we can give the services that they need.” And that’s the challenge; finding enough money to meet the demand.
While Wednesday night’s needs assessment looked at all aspects of the mental health system, many people’s top priority was counseling services.