Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has proposed several initiatives to increase access to mental health care in the Hoosiers as part of a $5.5 billion next-level state budget agenda announced Jan. 4.
On his agenda, the governor calls for expanding the availability of mental health services and introducing mobile crisis teams to respond to emergencies. 29 considers and approves legislation to create a spending plan that will follow the state through 2025.
Under Holcomb’s proposal, Indiana plans to improve and expand 988 crisis and suicide lifeline services, according to an in.gov press release. State-wide 988 includes people to contact 988 centers, people to respond, and safe places to go if needed.
He suggested continuing the transition to the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic system as part of the nationwide move towards the CCBHC system announced in October 2022. .
Holcomb is also piloting four mobile crisis teams in 15 counties, trained to respond to people facing mental health emergencies. According to the Indiana Department of Family and Social Services, the team will consist of peers with professional crisis management skills and behavioral health professionals.
The budget agenda endorsed implementing the governor’s challenge to prevent suicide among veterans by investing $4.25 million in programs for veterans’ health. Indiana also plans to invest more than $500 million of her money received from the National Opioid Settlement into resources for Hoosiers facing addiction. He launched a new Treatment Finder program to connect people to the right treatment and plans to create more community substance use programs.
Kara Baertsch, president of Mental Health America Monroe County, said one of the most prominent issues surrounding mental health care is access to care. Some providers only offer commercial insurance plans, leaving less choice for low-income earners. Long waiting lists and a shortage of providers are also barriers to care.
Assigning a caseworker to each person seeking care could help pool resources and address financial, educational and housing insecurity while waiting to see a health care provider, says Baertsch. said Mr.
“These are all major stressors for mental health issues, so I think it would be amazing if we could address them from a community perspective,” she said.
It’s important to realize that crisis intervention teams typically don’t get involved until an actual crisis occurs. Crisis intervention teams should be able to help people before they reach crisis situations, she said.
“They certainly have their place and their space, which is very important, but we need to look further upstream in terms of getting the help people need before we get to that point. I think there is,” she said.
Related: [Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb delivers annual State of the State address Tuesday]
Brendan Bow is a Program Analyst at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Bowe studies unhoused individuals and health inequities.
Discussions about mental health and uninhabited individuals often come together, he said. In January 2022, 3,860 people were vacated on a given night in Indiana, according to the U.S. Department of Housing’s point-in-time tally. Of those reported, 802 had documented severe mental illness and 567 had chronic substance abuse.
Senate Bill 34, introduced during this legislative session, would expunge addiction-related convictions from a person’s record if that person completes a high-intensity home treatment program. Convictions related to substance abuse can make it more difficult to find affordable housing, Bow said. , helps people who are experiencing not being housed find housing.
Suzanne Koesel is the regional CEO of Centerstone Indiana, an addiction treatment provider. Koesel said Indiana has long needed more crisis relief centers and mobile crisis services. She said these programs can help people at risk who might otherwise have been taken to the emergency room or prison.
“When I think about someone in a mental health crisis, I think it’s scary to see the police show up,” she said. Having a team that includes clinical staff who are capable of doing so may mitigate the threat.”
Koesel said he was happy to see the governor investing in addiction services, and said investments are needed in a variety of places, from hands-on treatment to housing and employment assistance.
“I think there’s a growing awareness in Indiana, and frankly nationally, of the need for mental health and substance use treatment and recovery resources,” Cosell said. is exciting to see come to the governor’s initiative.”