Portland Press Herald reports that Democrats in the Legislature are moving forward with a bill to create a task force that will take a sweeping look at Maine’s fragmented mental health system.

 Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, sponsor of the bill, explains that it is meant to fill the holes in a system that is failing those who are struggling with mental illness. Read the article here to learn more about how state reforms made years ago failed to deliver on  providing promised mental health services. “There are a lot of holes in the system, and people do fall through,” Breen says.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS IN MAINE

UNE MSW alumna and State Rep. Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell, is a co-sponsor of the bill and the House chair of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.  She shares that law enforcement has been asking the state to help for years, but to little effect.

The working group created through this bill will include representatives from a range of organizations, including law enforcement and mental health care providers.  The aim is to develop a long-term strategic plan for reform to get the state to a place where the  mental health system in Maine is highly functioning and  highly effective.

“Our county jails should not be default facilities for community members suffering from a mental illness,” shares Warren, “as a trained social worker (in UNE’s MSW Program),  I can say without hesitation that incarceration is not only not helpful in treating behavior health issues, but it is in fact detrimental to them.”

WATCH THIS VIDEO

to learn more about how Rep. Charlotte Warren uses her MSW in her current legislative work

Maine has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation and that rate is on the rise.  This bill makes addressing this a priority.   The next stop for the bill, which creates the working group with a legislative resolve, will be a work session before the Health and Human Services Committee that has not yet scheduled. For more details read PPH article HERE.

Join us June 5th for our Mental Health Collaborative Art Event at the Portland Campus.  Learn more about by visiting our recent blog post, Mental Health: Smash the Stigma!

Featured image: Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton speaks Wednesday in favor of a bill that would form a working group to review problems and recommend solutions for Maine’s ailing mental health care system. Behind Morton are the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, left, and Rep. Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell. Press Herald photo by Scott Thistle

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