By Sarah Wibell
A representative for a new statewide mental health survey open to all Georgians appeared before the Morgan County Board of Commissioners to ask the local community to participate in the survey.
During the recent Board of Commissioners meeting a presentation was made by Irene Cheyne, appointed by Fayette County, on behalf of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities (DBHDD).
Cheyne informed the commission of a statewide survey taking place through April 30 that will help Georgia’s Regional Advisory Councils identify and recommend community/area priorities to the DBHDD.
“We are really concentrating on treatment, programs and services for people with mental illnesses, for people with addictive diseases and for individuals with developmental disabilities. That’s the focus of DBHDD,” explained Cheyne. “By law, DBHDD as a state agency must have citizen input and that is done through the regional advisory council.”
The only identifying question on the survey requires participants to list the county in which they live. If Morgan County gets 25 respondents, the county will be able to receive data regarding needs for behavioral health and development disabilities in comparison to other counties in the state..
Cheyne shared her own story of discovering her 12-year-old son had developed a severe mental illness in 2001, long before finding her way to work for the DBHDD.
“We were fortunate enough to have the resources to get private care at that time,”said Cheyne. She praised the results of early intervention. “Early intervention saved my son’s life, it’s important. It’s one of the many topics discussed in the survey you have in front of you.”
Cheyne is hoping to familiarize communities across the state with the work of the DBHDD to ensure other families who need help, get it.
“The idea behind this survey is that, we as the citizens of Georgia, every one of us, is affected in some way by mental illnesses, by addictive diseases and by intellectual developmental disabilities. So, we all have a stake in services for those individuals. So this survey is open to every Georgian.”
“As of this morning, we have 6,900 Georgians who have responded to this survey,” said Cheyne Tuesday morning. Morgan County has only had three respondents as of Tuesday, April 2. The minimum number of respondents from Morgan County needs is 25 in order for the DBHDD to do an analysis with helpful data of Morgan County about available resources concerning healthcare, housing, transportation and other vital services.
“Everybody is looking for where can they go for healthcare in their community,” said Cheyne. “If you have disabilities, it can be much more challenging to take advantage of those services.”
To take the survey, visit: The survey is found in both English and Spanish online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/GeorgiaNeeds.