Mental Health Legislation Promises Improved Care

Senator Goodwin held a press conference Tuesday morning to highlight two bills which would make mental health services more accessible to those in crisis and streamline the many support structures that individuals rely on to address mental health needs. Joined by coauthors in the House, law enforcement, and law leaders, the Senator addressed the bipartisan bills and the need for an alternative option for communities across the state. The bill would provide funding for mental health hubs that house diversion programs for people whose mental illnesses lead them to commit low level crimes.

Minnesota struggles to properly treat and care for individuals with mental illnesses with the resources currently available. Comprehensive community mental health centers would provide medical professionals and the community a centralized location for mental health care. The package contains the framework necessary to establish mental health hubs and an $8 million appropriation to start a competitive grant program. Another $500,000 is appropriated in a separate bill for Beltrami County to start a mental health hub program to address the dire need in that community.

By aiding the creation of community mental health hubs, we will be helping not only those with mental illnesses, but also the police who respond to a crisis situation, the jail facilities that are unequipped to protect and treat this vulnerable population, and the Minnesota taxpayers who pick up the tab. Both bills passed out of the Health, Human Services, and Housing Policy Committee on Wednesday. (S.F. 141, S.F. 142)

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