Many people have read the series of articles in the Atlanta Journal Constitutions titled “A Hidden Shame: Death in Georgia’s Mental Hospitals.” (Click here if you would like to read the series of articles.) Like most of you, our initial reaction is to be horrified at the loss of life and at the conditions reported. Through the routine monitoring that GAO engages in, GAO advocates have an opportunity to witness many of these neglectful conditions within institutional settings. When advocates witness incidents of abuse and serious neglect we investigate the situation and step in to protect the vulnerable individual from further harm. GAO believes that the only way to prevent abuse and neglect is by involving vulnerable people in the life of the community. The highest threat that any group of people can face is to be congregated and separated away from the rest of society. Some people have concluded that the current problems with Georgia’s institutions can be fixed with more funding – more staff, larger facilities, etc. It is our belief, based on experience, that the problem of abuse in institutional settings cannot be fixed with any amount of funding. GAO recently sent a letter to key State Legislators to express our concerns about the current crisis in Georgia’s mental health system. Click here to read the letter outlining our concerns about the current crisis in Georgia’s state institutions.