Saturday, June 21, 2014

I am running for this office because of my long-standing commitment to assisting individuals with mental health diagnoses.

by Marian Cheadle Fordcye

Marian Cheadle Fordcye
My name is Marian Cheadle Fordyce and I am running for General Sessions Judge for Division II. While General Sessions Court mostly deals with criminal cases and civil cases up to $25,000, Division II is the mental health court. That means the judge who presides in this courtroom also is charged with the responsibility of supervising 20+ individuals with mental illness in addition to the regular general sessions dockets. I am running for this office because of my long-standing commitment to assisting individuals with mental health diagnoses. This oft forgotten and often neglected portion of our population includes the mentally ill and/or the dual diagnosed having addiction issues in addition to mental health issues.

At present we often use our jail cells as mental health facilities. Not only is this expensive, it does not produce the results that individuals or society need or deserve. Judge Eisenstein has made great leaps in this field, but there is much more to do.

I have developed a plan to incorporate what is working with the present mental health court which serves 200 individuals and expands with Nashville’sever growing population. My vision combinesthe rules of the justice system (which I believe is following the constitution and statute law in an unbiased manner) with proven rehabilitation methods incorporated into the probation conditions placed on these individuals.

In my experience, and I have over 30 years in the mental health field, you not only have to work with proven methods but be actively involved with members of the mental health community to keep abreast of emerging technologies and treatments. This does not entail enabling the mentally ill to escape responsibility for their actions or pouring money into unproven strategies. It requires proper resource allocation and a system that emphasizes personal accountability and a willingness to focus on evidence-based programs.

All this has to be done while making financial sense and with the goal of having persons regain control of their lives, rejoin the workforce and lead productive lives.

The reason I want this position is to build on the strides made by Judge Einstein and to continue the decriminalization of mental health. I believe with my background and experience I can do just that. I helped promote the need for the Mental Health Court and did extensive work in other aspects of this area.

Campaigning has been a whole adventure I did not anticipate and I feel at times the message and the purpose of the court are drowned in politics. I understand the process; it just is a hard and challenging time and often has me question what exactly would be the best way to get the most qualified judges to serve Nashville.

My family helped found Nashville and I desire to contribute in making it continue to grow and thrive.

I did not choose mental health as a plan, but it has been the path along which I have been led, and I am grateful for those individuals I have gotten to work with over the years; so, win or lose I will continue to serve those who suffer from mental health or substance abuse problems.

A couple of weeks ago I was a bit overcome with the politics of the election and went and sat in the chapel at St. George’s by myself for quite some time turning this election over to my higher power God, and realized whatever will happen is part of His Plan. My part is doing my best each and every day, turning over the result to Him.

I am very proud (wish my father was here to see) to run as a Republican and grateful to expose my passion and the plight of so many to the Nashville community.

To learn more about Ms Fordyce and her campaign for Judge or to make a contribution go to Forydce For Judge.

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