How Indiana invested in psychological well being on this session
They gave more money to the cause and allowed more people to treat and diagnose mental health problems.
If lawmakers were to get a mental health report in 2021, Steve McCaffrey, President and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana, said he would give them an A this year.
“And I wouldn’t say that many years, honestly,” said McCaffrey.
He wouldn’t have expected this when lawmakers planned to cut mental health funds in January due to lost revenue due to the pandemic. However, positive economic outlook allowed lawmakers to restore the $ 26 million Indiana is providing for mental health. The statehouse also added $ 150 million in federal funds.
“We have a tremendous shortage of behavioral health workers, so getting the money is important, but now we need to figure out how to use it appropriately,” said McCaffrey.
State Senator Mike Crider helped Indiana address a 988 Indiana mental health crisis. It won’t be ready until July next year.
“This would be a portal that would find out what services are needed, who is best to be on the ground, and that would include mobile crisis units,” said McCaffrey.
Sen. Crider also worked on a bill that would add 10,000 mental health providers in Indiana.
“Senate Bill 82 allows properly trained licensed clinical social workers, family marriage therapists, and people to diagnose mental illness. So we’re confident we can get more people involved in treatment more effectively and more quickly,” said Crider.
Indiana also made strides in providing virtual mental health services.
“Telehealth actually helps because we can get into rural areas where there are no workers. We can get into many bottleneck areas that frankly make up most of Indiana,” said McCaffrey.
Crider said he believes virtual visits are preferred by many, especially those who may be embarrassed to seek help in person.
“Too often people allow the stigma of mental health discussion not to reach out for help,” Crider said.
While progress has been made, it does not mean that legislators do not need to address mental health in the next session.
“There is more to be done, but given the situation we are in with the pandemic and everything else you need to do, this is a huge mental health and addiction achievement,” said McCaffrey.
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