Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services are in Crisis!
The 2022-23 Supplemental Budget DID NOT ADDRESS basic youth and adult behavioral health services that have growing wait lists. These bills below were all unanimously passed with bipartisan support, and are in need of funding. We are asking that they be included in the final passage of the Supplemental Budget for funding now:
LD 415, Resolve, Directing DHHS To Increase MaineCare Reimbursement Rates for Targeted Case Management (TCM) Services; Lead Sponsor Rep. Stearns
- $6.6M General Fund, $14M Federal Match
- Expands access to TCM for all MaineCare Members receiving treatment for substance use disorder. Studies show these services are more likely to help someone sustain addiction recovery.
LD 432, An Act To Improve Behavioral Health Care for Children; Lead Sponsor Rep. Madigan
- $133K General Fund, $240K Federal Match
- A small but key enhancement for treatment of children with mental health challenges that would allow collaboration among a child’s providers.
LD 496, An Act to Clear Waiting Lists and Ensure Timely Access to Mental Health Services for Maine Children; Lead Sponsor Rep. Gramlich
- $9.2M General Fund, $21M Federal Match
- Provides needed resources for Home and Community Treatment for the almost 700 kids on wait lists for this care, as well as Outpatient Treatment for thousands of adults and children on wait lists.
LD 582, Resolve, To Support the Sustainability of Assertive Community Treatment; Lead Sponsor Rep. Madigan
- $624K General Fund, $1.5M Federal Match
- This is the most critically needed service for individuals struggling with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness, and the need is growing beyond capacity. This is especially true in our rural communities, where there is little access.
It’s costing the state millions to have these folks languishing in emergency rooms and jails, and it’s not fair to our doctors and nurses, our law enforcement officers, and our corrections officers – their jobs are hard enough already!
Let’s get these Mainers the appropriate care that they need.
Click here to find the leadership of the Appropriations and Health and Human Services Committees to ask for their support in funding these bills.
Find your Maine Representative and Senator to tell them to support mental health and substance use treatment and recovery.
Click here to learn about being an advocate.
Last November 30th nearly 100 Mainers gathered in Augusta for a Mental Health Summit to Reimagine Community Services in Maine. More that a 100 others participated via zoom.
The Mental Health Summit highlighted our current and chronic crisis of lack of care in Maine:
- There are only 87 mental health crisis workers for the entire state (compared to over 2,500 law enforcement officers) leading to saturated involvement of the criminal justice system instead of the health care system.
- As of November 20, 2021, over 2,300 people wait for openings for outpatient mental health treatment.
- MaineHealth reported that 32 out of 45 emergency department beds are filled with individuals waiting for discharge for residential mental health care
- More than 70 children are in out-of-state treatment centers due to a lack of capacity in Maine-based organizations (leading to isolation from families).
- Over 260 residential treatment beds for children remain empty due to lack of staffing.
- Children experiencing a psychiatric crisis languish for days and sometimes weeks in beds in hospital emergency department hallways waiting for placement options.
- Local county jails have become the holding tanks for adults experiencing a mental health crisis leading to further decompensation for many.
- In the past year over 20 mental health residential programs (private non-medical institutions) in Maine have closed due to deficits in their finances and consequential lack of staffing.
- 12 Mainers die each week due to opioid overdoses.
This Summit was organized and hosted by the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services, the Behavioral Health Community Collaborative, the Consumer Council System of Maine, NAMI Maine, Pathways, and the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work.
Below are some key comments made by panelists during the Mental Health Summit:
You may view the recording of the full Mental Health Summit here.