Georgia Consumer Council
Since the opening of the Georgia Lunatic Asylum in 1842, some 25,000 patients were buried on the grounds of what is now called Central State Hospital. To maintain the patients’ confidentiality, their graves were marked with iron stakes bearing numbers instead of names. Over time, many markers were removed or covered by growth.
In 1997, the Georgia Consumer Council adopted the Central State Hospital Cemetery Memorial Project as a tribute to those who faced behavioral health in a less enlightened time; as an effort to reduce stigma and increase community understanding about mental illness; and as a symbol of the progress the peer movement has made. As a result of its restoration efforts, new cemetery gates were installed, and a bronze angel was erected as a memorial. Buried beneath the angel are a time capsule of the hospital’s history, and a digital recording of the names of the dead.
The Council continues to meet twice each year, once in the spring, typically in Atlanta, to plan for the memorial service held when it meets again in the fall at the cemetery in Milledgeville.
Peers, advocates, allies, family members, and the general public are invited to the memorial service each fall, and again to the placement of wreaths on the cemetery gates each December.
Membership of the Georgia Consumer Council includes behavioral health peers from across the state of Georgia.
Learn more about Central State Hospital by reading "But for the Grace of God."
Fall 2019 Annual Memorial Ceremony Cancellation Notice
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Georgia Consumer Council will be unable to host the annual memorial ceremony at Central State Hospital planned for October 6, 2019.
Instead, we are asking our peers, friends, allies, and all Georgians to join us for a moment of silence at noon on October 6 to reflect on those we have lost, the struggles we have overcome together, and the work we have yet to do to continue transforming Georgia into a state where lives of independence, wellness, and recovery are available to everyone.
We are also asking for everyone whose life has been impacted by a behavioral health concern to contact your State of Georgia representatives on that day to let them know how important funding for behavioral health is for you, your family, and your community.
The recent budget cuts announced by the State of Georgia will impact much of the work done to support Georgians by many organizations who rely on state funding, including the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, and the projects it supports, such as the Georgia Consumer Council.
We understand that prudent financial decisions are important for Georgia’s long-term economic health, but we know that every $1 spent on prevention and treatment returns $7 to Georgia’s communities, and helps keep families together and communities safer.
Investment in Georgia’s public behavioral health system isn’t just the right thing to do, it is a good investment for us all.
Learn more about the Georgia Consumer Council and the history of Central State Hospital:
Learn more about the economic benefits of public behavioral health services in ”Too Significant To Fail: The Importance of State Behavioral Health Agencies in the Daily Lives of Americans with Mental Illness, for Their Families, and for Their Communities,” published by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors: https://www.nasmhpd.org/…/Too%20Significant%20To%20Fail%287…
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