From an editorial Wednesday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has commendably concentrated on mental health care and substance abuse with a task force focused on issues that have confused and challenged lawmakers for many years. The task force has ideas that seem sound – but it will have to persuade the General Assembly to act.
Consider: There is a priority for finding affordable housing for the mentally ill. Some are in prisons; some are in hospitals; some are homeless; some are living with their families in situations that strain everyone involved. The issue also is important because the U.S. Department of Justice had threatened to sue the state because there is a shortage of such housing.
The task force wants to present to the General Assembly a plan to coordinate mental health policies, particularly those in the health care and justice systems.
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The governor has endorsed the task force’s recommendations and appears ready to push the General Assembly to move on some of its ideas. It will take some doing. The mentally ill have suffered in North Carolina from a lack of coherent policy going back to an unsuccessful 2001 overhaul of mental health care. McCrory can distinguish himself if he wins approval for some changes.