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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– After years of crime and public safety issues, Macon-Bibb County officials want to do something about it.
“The Sheriff has previously said that he has the largest mental health facility in Middle Georgia,” Mayor Lester Miller stated. “That’s not acceptable for Macon-Bibb, it’s also not acceptable to our community. We must do something about it.”
Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller proposed a new plan addressing mental health issues.
“This program incorporates a holistic approach for reducing recidivism, resolving conflicts without violence, and also increasing access to mental healthcare within the Macon-Bibb community,” Miller explained.
The initiative “Macon Mental Health Matters” would cost the county roughly $600,000. The program would also set up free mental health clinics and services in underserved communities.
According to Sheriff David Davis, over 25% of inmates in the Bibb County jail suffer from a mental illness. He says programs like this could lead those facing mental health struggles, away from a life of crime.
“This plan will hopefully result in us not having to get called in because of something that has spiraled out of control and led to a very tragic incident,” Sheriff Davis said.
Local therapist, Gloria Cisse, says she has also noticed a lack of access to mental services in Macon, and hopes this will allow people to get the help they need.
“I’ve had people walk to therapy, and if you’re in a neighborhood that’s 10 blocks away from the therapy office it’s prohibitive,” Cisse explained.
The Mayor plans to put the program on the agenda at the next commission meeting on March 2. Commissioners Elaine Lucas, Paul Bronson, and Seth Clarke all plan to support the initiative. Mayor Miller says the program could begin within the next eight weeks.
Neighborhoods included on the list:
- Pleasant Hill: Booker T. Washington Center
- Pio Nono Avenue
- Pendleton Homes
- West Macon (Cherokee Heights/Bartlett Crossing area)
- East Macon: Rosa Jackson Center
- Rocky Creek Road: Bloomfield-Gilead Center
- Payne City: Brookdale Warming Center
- Mental health counseling
- Conflict resolution counseling
- Financial counseling
- Anger management classes
- Parenting classes
- Trauma assessments
- Solving circles
- Drum circles
- Focus groups