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Community services step up after Lakeshore closed

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - After the state announced plans to close the Lakeshore Regional Mental Health Institute, advocates worried the most mentally ill would be left to fend for themselves and unable to find adequate support.

But months after Lakeshore closed last summer, local providers and advocates tell the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/132nH9F ) that community and private mental health providers have stepped up during the transition away from state-provided mental health care.

Ben Harrington, executive director of an East Tennessee mental health advocacy nonprofit, said he's not heard about any significant issues with access to care. But others say more is needed to help those who are mentally ill and homeless.

Ginny Weatherstone, of Volunteer Ministry Center, said homeless people do not family support to help them find community services.