Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lakeshore Forum

Tonight County Commissioner Jeff Ownby hosted a forum for community members and employees regarding the closure of Lakeshore. The attendees are concerned with the decision of TN Commissioner of Mental Health Director Doug Varney in recommending to Governor Bill Haslam to stop admissions at Lakeshore in Knoxville on January 1, 2012. In addition Commissioner Varney has recommended ultimate closure of Lakeshore before July 1, 2012.

Lakeshore currently houses 115 mental health patients from 25 counties surrounding Knoxville and Knox County. Lakeshore currently employs approximately 350 mental health medical professionals and an additional 50 support staffers.

With the closure of Lakeshore, the patients will either be sent to private sector mental health facilities that may or may not house and care for them. Or the patients will be on the street joining the other mental health patients that currently make up our homeless population.

The reoccurring theme tonight was that incarcerating these patients in the jails and prisons is not the right way to treat mental health.

It will be economic devastation to the community to place 400 individuals into the unemployment line. Individuals that have given many years of service to Tennessee and to mental health. This decision was made three weeks ago, the rush to stop admissions and close needs the Governors attention. Commissioner Ownby will be presenting a resolution to County Commission asking the Governor for a two year delay in closing Lakeshore. Many state and local officials were present. Both State Senators Stacey Campfield and Becky Duncan Massey along with State Representative Steve Hall and Bill Dunn were present.

Commissioner Amy Broyles encouraged everyone to contact the Governors office and to get all their friends and family to contact the Governors office. Broyles stated that her perspective was from the Commissioner that represents the area where Knox Area Rescue Ministry, Salvation Army and other homeless agencies are located.

County Commissioner Jeff Ownby starts the Lakeshore Forum 

The attendess of the Lakeshore Forum

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am very sad to see Lakeshore Mental Health Institute gone and the buildings left in such disrepair. My mother Leela B. Sud, MD was a psychiatrist there and did her best to help the patients there. She stayed on there for years despite lucrative offers to work at other facilities. She wanted to help the unfortunate patients at Lakeshore. I volunteered there when I was young and remember the kindness and gratitude the patients expressed. Mu mother took me there many times from the time I was a young child and I never felt scared or threatened but I did see the sadness and misfortune that mental illness brought to the patients.