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Businesses welcomed learning about 'Stepping Up' program led by courts

Businesses welcomed learning about 'Stepping Up' program led by courts

Businesses welcomed learning about 'Stepping Up' program led by courts

Businesses in attendance at the Lunch with a Leader event on Thursday, October 12, were pleased to learn abut the Stepping Up Program and how it works to reduce overincarceration of people with mental illness.

Keynote speaker The Honorable Senior Judge James T. Chafin, State Court of Henry County (retired), delivered astounding data showing how people with mental illness are overrepresented in our nation's jails and prisons. The case that "people with a history of mental illness deserve help, not handcuffs" was clearly a need to be addressed. 

The Stepping Up initiative is a nationwide collaborative of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, The National Association of Counties and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, is endorsed by the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, and partners with NAMI on a national basis, explained Judge Chafin. Henry County recently kicked off its efforts to activate its Stepping Up program, joining 14 other Georgia Counties already on board, with a systemwide meeting of over 50 participants including leadership from the relevant State, County, City and Public Safety departments, Mental Health care and services providers and community organizations.

Barbara Coleman, Executive Director of Connecting Henry, a community resource provider in support of Stepping Up, wrapped up the luncheon with information about the need for housing for program participants. She informed the business leaders about funding available for landlords and renters in the Stepping Up program and called the business community to get involved by helping to designate housing opportunities for the mentally ill who are successfully navigating the Stepping up program. To become a housing partner, contact Connecting Henry at:

Barbara A. Coleman, MPA, MHRM
Executive Director
162 Keys Ferry Street
McDonough, GA 30253
Office: 770-274-3642 or 
Direct: 770-274-6282

For Information and resources on mental illness visit
NAMI National Alliance for Mental Illness Website
For Immediate Help: 988 is the Suicide and Crisis Helpline

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