Boosting Mental Health Care Access

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth experience mental illness each year in the United States, but less than half of them receive treatment. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this session we prioritized several bills to increase and improve services and treatment across our state and in local communities.

Through the state’s next two-year budget, Indiana will invest in building out a statewide system of certified behavioral health clinics to increase Hoosiers’ availability to quality care. The state’s newly launched 988 National Suicide and Crisis Line will be expanded to connect those struggling or going through a mental health-related crisis to help. Boosting this infrastructure and hotline are the next step toward ensuring struggling Hoosiers have a place to go, someone to call and someone to respond.

We also increased our investments in Indiana’s veteran suicide prevention efforts. Our state’s veteran suicide rate is higher than the national average, and we need to do everything we can to ensure these Hoosiers, who sacrifice their time, safety and even their lives, can receive the help they need.

This session I also supported a new law to help ensure low-risk individuals with mental health conditions receive treatment in hospitals, not jails. Law enforcement will be empowered to apprehend and transport those suffering from a mental illness, or temporary impairment from drugs and alcohol, to the nearest facility providing mental health treatment. This legislation will also ensure an individual is not turned away because of their inability to pay for services and that hospitals receive payment. Sending Hoosiers to these facilities can connect them with the help they need and hopefully keep them out of the criminal justice system.

Help is out there, whether it’s in-person, virtual or by phone. If you or a loved one are currently facing a crisis, please dial 988 for the National Suicide and Crisis Line or dial 211 to connect with Indiana’s Be Well Crisis Helpline. Both are free and confidential resources to connect with support. For help navigating state resources, please contact me at 317-232-9833 or email [email protected]

-State Rep. Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel) represents House District 24, which includes portions of Boone and Hamilton counties.

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