Critical need to use US bailout funding for investments in mental health care – Daily Bulldog



There is a critical need to use US bailout funding to invest in mental health care, substance use disorder treatment and housing.

Throughout the past year, we have seen weekly, sometimes daily, articles on the effect of pandemic at Mental Health. There has been an increase in depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide. In 2020, Maine had 502 overdose deaths from substance use disorders, higher than deaths from Covid-19 (422). Additionally, the suicide rate in Maine, higher than the national average, in 2020 was 261.

There were nearly 20 tickets heard at the Health and Human Services Committee of the Maine Legislature which addressed some aspects of the shortage of mental health care services in Maine. The need is critical and there is no time to waste.

Governor Janet Mills recently signed a proclamation naming May as Mental health awareness month. The proclamation noted that mental health problems are common, affecting one in five adults nationwide – 187,000 Mainers. He also said that about half of chronic mental illnesses start at age 14 and three-quarters by age 24, early identification and treatment can improve lifelong outcomes for young people with mental illness.

We have an established need, an understanding that early intervention is essential to achieve positive results, a chronic shortage of resources and a lack of commitment from a government that makes noble proclamations, but does not support them. statements of concern with financial resources that would breach the documented need.

The consequence of a lack of funding for mental health services has been the increase in prison and prison populations. “While at least half of inmates have mental health problems, about 10 to 25 percent of US inmates suffer from serious mental illnesses, such as major affective disorder or schizophrenia,” reports the American Psychological Association find. In 2015, Department of Housing and Town Planning (HUD) approved study found that “25% of homeless Americans (140,000 people) were seriously mentally ill at some point. Forty-five percent of the homeless, or 250,000 people, suffered from a mental illness ”.

Although Maine does to bring some crisis stabilization beds and mobile crisis units, they are severely underfunded, do not have enough beds, and are lacking in rural Maine.

Maine already pays for the consequences of mental health problems in lost potentials, broken families, prison budgets, care or simply policing homeless populations. Making financial investments in prevention instead of paying the financial and social costs of insufficient mental health resources is a wise solution.

We have a pressing need and a precious opportunity. Around the state, counties and municipalities will see the largest influx of funds in their history from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These funds can be used to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Funding for mental health services is one of the permitted uses.

We encourage the government of Maine at all levels to invest in mental health care, including crisis stabilization beds and mobile crisis units, but also recovery centers, treatment of mental health disorders. ‘substance use, peer recovery programs, recovery homes and community treatment providers.

The people in need are our family members, our neighbors and our colleagues. They are the ones who strengthen our communities and help us all thrive. Let’s invest in healthy communities now.

Jan Collins

Franklin County Corrections Visitors Board

Simmone M. Maline

Maine Consumers Council


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