Increased funding for state mental health programs expected

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee promised this week increased funding for mental health resources during a tour of a Nashville facility dealing with psychiatric patients.

“There are a number of funding streams that we provide for these facilities,” said the governor after he visited the Mental Health Cooperative. “And as we see them and see the way they work, we certainly want to continue supporting them and expand across the state.”

The Nashville facility is one of those places where people with mental health issues picked up by the police are often brought–instead of going off to jail.

One of the Mental Health Cooperative’s executives showed Governor Bill Lee the building’s secure entrance.

“Officers pull up, bring the individual in, give us a quick report and then we take over,” said Amanda Bracht who is facilities senior vice-president of clinical operations. “The other way people get here is if they are presented at an emergency room.”

Metro police officers who just happened to be at the facility said they can get back on the street within minutes instead of taking an offender with mental health problems to jail.

The governor added that whatever increase comes this year for mental health funding, it will be larger than the increase last year.

Governor Lee unveils his funding choices for the Tennessee government budget in the upcoming State of the State speech.

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