Rising demand for children and adolescent mental health services has brought many families to the emergency room during a crisis. ERs are a common way for individuals to access treatment, but they can also be stressful environments, especially for children and young adults experiencing a mental health crisis. Some children are boarded in emergency rooms for several days until an inpatient psychiatric bed becomes available. A DFL bill heard in the Human Services Reform committee this week seeks to address this issue.
This bill would create a competitive grant program for health systems or mental-health focused non-profit organizations to create or expand mental health ‘urgency rooms,’ a first-contact resource when families are experiencing a mental health crisis. Eligible grant recipients would need to have mental health professionals on staff and have the ability to perform mental health crisis assessments and connect youth to appropriate inpatient or outpatient mental health services. The bill was laid over in committee for further consideration.
Senate DFLers have been fighting to improve the mental health care system in Minnesota and will continue to do so. This bill is another part of that fight. (SF 3993)