A number of economic and social factors have made treatment beyond the reach of more mentally ill Kentuckians. Kelly Gunning with the Lexington Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness says insurance companies through managed care are increasingly unwilling to fund mental health care. “As the federal budgets and state budgets and the local budgets dry up, there’s this natural shrinking of available community based resources,” said Gunning.
Gunning says part of the answer may lie with more outpatient treatment. For help, she hopes to collaborate more with like-minded organizations.
“I hope to partner with the faith community as well as private business communities to start creating a humane society for human beings,” added Gunning.
By creating courts where only cases involving mental health are heard, proponents say Kentucky can provide better care for mentally ill patients. Gunning says ‘mental health courts’ have been successfully tested elsewhere in the nation.
"I comes down to finding someone in our community who believes that that would be a worthwhile effort, that the cost savings would be there for the system, that we could de-clog the court dockets. I mean that’s a huge complaint that we’re getting lately is that we have so many of these minor misdemeanant type offenses” said Gunning.
A community forum on civil approaches to treating severe mental iIlness is this evening at Lexington’s downtown library. A candlelight vigil is scheduled Tuesday evening at Phoenix Park, also in Lexington.