Published on 01/25/23

Mental Health Day at Georgia Capitol to highlight rural mental health

By Amanda Budd
From below, the gold dome of the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta
The Georgia Capitol's Mental Health Day will include an update on rural mental health from UGA Extension Agent Jennifer Dunn. Mental health advocates will also have the opportunity to discuss their goals with Georgia lawmakers.

Mental Health Day at the Georgia State Capitol will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 31, to raise awareness of mental health issues and allow mental health advocates to share their insights with lawmakers.

The occasion is an opportunity to increase awareness about mental health and health services, especially for those in rural areas, said University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent Jennifer Dunn.

“I think people forget how many people in Georgia actually live and work in rural areas and the barriers to getting services,” said Dunn. “Even when the services exist and are available, we need to examine what keeps people from getting those services and how we can break those barriers down.”

The event, which will be held at the Georgia Freight Depot, part of the state's Capitol Hill complex, will include breakfast followed by a range of educational speakers to share stories, mental health resources and updates on mental health legislation in the state. An online option will be available.

Dunn will provide an update on rural mental health and moderate a discussion panel featuring parents and their experiences finding and using mental health services in both urban and rural areas.

Other highlights of the program include a speech from Kevin Tanner, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, and a live performance from the mental health advocacy theatre group R2ISE. Tyler Harper, agriculture commissioner of Georgia, will also attend the event.

The event is open to anyone interested in attending. Those who want to join virtually may register here.

Amanda Budd is a writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.