New WRAL Documentary Examines the State of Mental Health Care in N.C.

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Focal Point: “State of Minds ”
New WRAL Documentary Examines the State of Mental Health Care in N.C.

Airs Wednesday September 26, 2007, 7pm

 “It’s a system that doesn’t support you when you need it and there’s no hope in the system.” 
— Chantel Brown, Patient with Bi-polar Disorder

Focal Point WRAL-TV is looking at the plight of mentally ill patients, their families, providers and other people affected by mental health care reform in North Carolina.  

The latest in its Focal Point documentary series, WRAL’s “State of Minds” looks at the challenges faced by patients and their families in a system that for many has become more complicated, confusing and harder to access.

The documentary is hosted by WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Cullen Browder and airs Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 7pm on WRAL-TV.

In 2001 the legislature mandated sweeping reforms of mental health care in North Carolina.  The idea was to de-centralize care, moving more patients from large state run institutions to private, community-based care programs.The state wanted to create a more cost-efficient system that would serve more patients at a lower cost and provide more choices in services.

Six years later mental health advocates, patients and their families say the system is broken. They say there hasn’t been enough funding for community based mental health care and as a result many mentally ill patients, especially those with no medical coverage, end up in emergency rooms, jails, adult care homes, homeless shelters and in some cases, dead. 

Focal Point “State of Minds” also investigates the controversial spending by some LME’s and the challenges faced by private companies as they try to provide mental health services in a more competitive environment that has driven some providers out of business.

Focal Point
“State of Minds ” is the eighteenth episode in the WRAL documentary series called Focal Point.  These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina.  From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected.  Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change.  WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series.  Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year. 

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for this capcom story.

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