Mental Health Services for TennCare and Uninsured

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 9/05/2013 6:28 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) -- Mental illness is a reality in our society---regardless of your income level.
Most Americans can find a way to get the treatment they need, but what about those who are on TennCare or have no insurance?
Many can find help through the Mental Health Cooperative.
It opened in Chattanooga this week.

"I'm suicidal every day of my life. I've been suicidal every day since I was diagnosed at the age of 18."

This woman's problems are real but they're manageable if treatment is available. That's not always the case.

MELISSA WILSON, DIRECTOR, MENTAL HEALTH COOPERATIVE "We have mental health services in Chattanooga. We don't really have enough to meet the whole population. Sometimes you call for a psychiatry appointment and it's 6 to 8 weeks before you get the first appointment...if you're in a mental health crisis..6 to 8 weeks is not going to work."

Mental Health Cooperative has been a leader in non-profit behavioral health in Nashville since 1993.
The organization opened an office in Chattanooga this week with the goal of providing psychological and psychiatric services for TennCare clients and those who are uninsured or on Safety Net.

MELISSA WILSON " A lot of our homeless population and a lot of the people that end up in jail have mental health issues, and they are not being served."

KIM BATSON, SATELLITE PGM. MGR "Each consumer would be given a case manager...that would follow them into the community and provide them to resources..walk along side of them in whatever goals they may want to work on."

Mental Health Cooperative will be serving Hamilton and the 6 surrounding counties.

KIM BATSON, SATELLITE PGM. MGR. "Mental illness, of course there's no cure for that..and we believe there is life after diagnosis. So what we do is we provide a treatment team of psychiatric services, and we wrap that service around a consumer."

Mental Health Cooperative plans to work closely with law enforcement and social organizations.

The Mental Health Cooperative walk-in clinic is located at 801 North Holtzclaw.

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