Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gov. Walker Announces Mental Health Funding in Upcoming Budget

Gov. Scott Walker has announced nearly $30 million in mental health funding as part of the upcoming state budget.
According to a news release from the governor's office, the programs would "enhance and expand services provided by state and local governments to individuals living with mental illness."
Here's a list of the programs:
  • Comprehensive Community Services (CCS): Expands intensive, targeted community-based care for adults and children with severe mental illness.  The CCS program delivers enhanced, individualized services helping reduce hospitalizations, improve primary health outcomes, improve relationships, increase meaningful employment, and improve overall life satisfaction.
  • Office of Children's Mental Health: Establishes an Office of Children's Mental Health focused on ensuring program policies and services are best meeting the needs of children throughout the state.  It will assist agencies in developing and delivering effective services for children.  The Office will coordinate initiatives, monitor program performance, and increase integration of services provided to children across all state agencies.
  • Coordinated Services Team (CST): Expands CST program statewide and funds CST coordinators on a regional basis to integrate and coordinate community-based care for juveniles in multiple systems of care.  Coordinated Services Teams provide wraparound models of care for children with behavioral health issues, as well as their families, when the children are involved in two or more systems of care, including mental health, long-term care, juvenile justice, child welfare, substance abuse, and special education systems.
  • Peer-Run Respite Centers: Develops Peer-Run Respite Centers to improve outcomes of individuals in crisis or individuals having difficulty coping with mental illness through services such as peer supports, 24/7 hotlines, wellness activities, respite, and hospital diversion.
  • In-Home Counseling for Children: Provides funding to broadly cover in-home counseling services under the Medicaid program.  Expanding coverage will allow earlier interventions, particularly for children and families with less acute conditions, and will make it easier for families to access necessary services, resulting in a reduction of out-of-home placements and improved outcomes for children.
  • Additional Forensic Units at Mendota Health Institute: Provides funding and positions to increase the capacity of the state forensic treatment units to meet the growing demand for inpatient evaluation and treatment services. 
Gov. Walker was quoted in the news release as follows:
"Earlier this year, I met with mental health professionals, advocates, and consumers from across Wisconsin, and they gave me some tremendous insights into the needs of people living with mental health challenges," said Governor Walker.  "Our budget investment will provide additional resources to improve and expand care, as well as give support to those living with mental illness and help individuals, families, and communities in Wisconsin live healthier and more productive lives."

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