Mental health a focus in committee

Building out Minnesota’s mental health system was a theme this week in the Human Services Reform Committee. Three bipartisan bills were heard that will improve access to mental health services for children and adults across the spectrum of care.

The first bill is targeted at early intervention services and includes grants to provide intensive treatment for children and adults at risk of a first psychotic episode or first episode of a mood disorder. Access to early mental health treatment services can make a significant difference in health outcomes.

The second bill addresses the lack of mental health professionals available across the state by expanding grants for residency to support psychiatry slots, creating a pediatric mental health training program at the University of Minnesota, providing more funding for loan forgiveness for mental health professionals, and extending available grants to traditional healing provided to American Indians.

The third bill focuses on mental health treatment that supports families by allowing parents in need of intensive mental health treatment to access child care assistance through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), making it easier for certain children to access respite care services, and expanding mental health grants to programs focusing on delivering multigenerational mental health services.

Minnesota still faces many gaps in the continuum of care for mental health services. The legislation heard this week makes several improvements necessary to helping more children and adults access the services they need to improve their health and well-being. (SF840, SF1481, SF1437)