Tennessee governor promises increased mental health funding

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In this Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 file photo, Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Lee takes part in a walk-through for his inauguration in War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee has signed legislation that would likely make Tennessee the first to fine voter registration groups for turning in too many incomplete signup forms. It drew an immediate federal lawsuit. Tennessee’s NAACP chapter and other voter registration groups sued after Lee signed the bill Thursday, May 2, 2019 backed by Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Groups submitting 100-plus incomplete registrations over a year could be fined. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

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 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 State speech.

— Story from WKRN

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