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Mental Health advocates stage first state-wide protest

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) plans to stage its first-ever state-wide mental health rally at the state legislature.  The organization, which works to serve families and people living with mental illness, wants to urge our lawmakers to do the right thing when it comes to funding support services.

NAMI and other mental health advocates will gather at noon Tuesday in front of the North Carolina Legislature.  As Governor McCrory plans to sign the state's new budget this week, those who support those with mental illness want to make sure budget cuts don't affect patients.  They're specifically hoping the new budget doesn't make it more difficult for people to obtain the medications they need.  They're also fighting the pre-authorization of drugs that help the mentally ill.

The House budget sets aside $8 million dollars for a temporary funding fix to ensure people who live in group homes aren't hurt by recent Medicaid eligibility changes.  The House directs the Division of Health and Human Services to report back to the General Assembly with a permanent fix by April 1, 2014.  The senate has no short- or long-term solution in its proposal.

Right now a committee is working to combine both the proposals from the House and Senate into a final budget for the governor to sign into law by July 11st

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