On Tuesday the Governor held a ceremonial signing of the mental health bill at Children's Hospital in St. Paul. The Governor spoke to the importance of addressing the mental health needs, particularly of our youth. The event was kicked off by CEO of Children's Hospital, Dr. Gorelick, who shared the increased number of children and youth who are seeking help and treatment. Senator Draheim and Representative Fischer spoke about the importance of the bill and that it was a bipartisan effort.
Sue Abderholden, NAMI Minnesota's executive director also spoke: "The mental health bill does two things. It builds on what we know works, and it addresses gaps in our mental health system using previous research and recommendations.
We know that mobile crisis services work. We know that providing culturally informed and responsive services work. We know that school linked and shelter linked programs work. We know that providing intensive services in foster homes work. We know that programs to intensively treat and support people experiencing their first psychotic episode work. All of these effective programs received additional funds in this bill expanding the number of people they can serve.
The bill then addresses the gaps in our system using previous stakeholder recommendations. One of the biggest issues is that we don’t have enough people to do the work. We have many people who graduated but don’t become licensed – a major barrier being that they couldn’t find or afford to pay for supervision. This bill creates a grant program to address this barrier. We also know that children who don’t need hospitalization but need something. That something is funded in this bill – crisis residential services, again based on a previous report on the need for crisis services for children.
These provisions are excellent steps to begin to address this crisis. We are grateful to the legislature and the governor for their leadership and support. And we want to remind people that this is an important first step – but not the last step – in ensuring that children, youth, and adults are able to access the right care at the right time in the right place."
There was great press coverage, KARE11, Star Tribune, Minnesota Reformer, Mankato Free Press, and WCCO. Sue was also interviewed on Friday night on Almanac, a public affairs show on TPT. The Star Tribune also did a story on how parents will be able to stay with their children in the units.
In an MPR piece that was emailed out: Minnesota’s newest mental health law is being described as an important move to expand services and clear pathways for more providers. A bipartisan contingent of state lawmakers who ushered the plan through late in the legislative session gathered Tuesday to mark its passage as Gov. Walz held a ceremonial signing. The plan puts extra money toward services proven to work and tries new approaches, said Sue Abderholden of Minnesota’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We want to remind people that this is an important first step, not the last step in ensuring that children, youth and adults are able to access the right care at the right time and in the right place,” Abderholden said. Tens of millions of dollars will be put into mobile crisis services, culturally informed services, school-based programs, residential and inpatient treatment and intervention for people sliding into crisis. The law also reduces financial barriers for people entering mental health professions.
NAM Minnesota is very proud of the work that went into this bill and thanks the Governor, legislators, DHS, providers and members of the Mental Health Legislative Network - along with everyone who called and emailed their legislators - for getting this bill passed.