Mental Health Must Be A Priority in 2019

NAMI Minnesota News Release, April 4, 2019 –

Building our mental health system is a top priority in the 2019 Legislative Session.  With the release of some of the bills in the House and Senate, NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is pleased to see a bipartisan effort to improve Minnesota’s mental health system.

“We’ve gone from talking about the lack of access to actually doing something,” said NAMI Minnesota’s executive director Sue Abderholden.

“The investments being offered by the Senate and the House are a good starting point to continue to build our mental health system, but there is still much more that needs to be done between now and end of the Legislative Session.”

Senate File 1 makes an impactful, one-time investment of $25 million towards our mental health system. This bill includes NAMI priorities like new funding for school-linked mental health grants, expanding the loan forgiveness program for mental health professionals who work in Greater Minnesota, a pilot project to connect students at colleges and universities with mental health professionals on campus, grant funding for mental health professionals to provide mental health services to youth in homeless shelters, funding to help mothers with postpartum depression along with veterans and farmers.

SF 1 also prioritizes the housing needs of people with mental illnesses through investments in permanent supportive housing, the Bridges housing voucher, and the Landlord Risk Mitigation Fund. Efforts are also made to divert people from the criminal justice system by increasing funding for mobile crisis services, establishing a competency restoration task force and funding of the Yellow Line project. Finally, funding is provided to increase our suicide prevention efforts.

The House omnibus Health and Human Services bill also makes significant investments in the mental health system and features NAMI priorities like expanding the number of Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) beds for children with serious mental illnesses, funding to sustain and expand Minnesota’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCHBCs), school-linked mental health grants, and to provide child care for mothers who struggle with their mental illnesses.

The bill also contains funding to support the transition to community effort to break the logjam at Anoka Regional Treatment Center, establishing a competency restoration task force.  There is funding for homeless youth and to ensure children in foster care have access to needed services along with adding wait times to measure network adequacy. Finally, funding is provided to increase our suicide prevention efforts.

Both the House and Senate are advancing legislation to provide the tools the Departments of Health and Commerce need to enforce mental health parity. The Senate has sent their mental health parity bill to the Senate Floor and the House has included language in their omnibus Health and Human Services bill.

For more information, contact Sue Abderholden at sabderholden@namimn.org.

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NAMI Minnesota is a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families through its programs of education, support and advocacy.