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Laura Supica represents District 126 within the Maine Home of Representatives. She is a former member of the Bangor Metropolis Council.
Psychological well being crises occur in any respect hours of the day. Typically they occur when the 9-5 assist employees have gone house and when shelters are full. Right here in Maine, we’ve a community of cellular items which can be tasked with responding to psychological well being crises, however over the previous a number of years, funding for these companies has been lower and their employees lowered.
Underfunding these companies has put an unfair burden on legislation enforcement officers, who are sometimes the one ones out there to reply. When a person is disoriented, affected by substance use dysfunction or experiencing another type of disaster, they want correctly skilled psychological well being specialists to assist them get fast and acceptable care. Because of this I’ve launched LD 968, a bill supported by the Bangor Police Department, to fund the growth of cellular psychological well being disaster response companies throughout the state.
I first started occupied with this situation throughout my time on the Bangor Metropolis Council the place I realized that cops usually reply to psychological well being crises as a result of there are not any different emergency companies out there. In testimony submitted by the Bangor Police Division in assist of LD 968, they state: “For police to reply to problems with psychological well being is an inefficient use of assets and tends to funnel people in disaster by means of the legal justice system moderately than the psychological well being system, the place people can obtain acceptable therapy with out criminalization.”
We will enhance our state’s method to psychological well being companies and higher assist legislation enforcement officers by adequately funding cellular disaster response items. With out correct care, people in disaster usually end up in jail or within the emergency room. That is an costly and ineffective answer.
Within the subsequent fiscal yr, county jails will price between $90 million and $100 million. The state will give the counties $18.4 million. The counties, and the municipalities inside them, shall be accountable for footing the remainder of that invoice. When municipalities want to boost cash, it usually comes straight from our property taxes. If we are able to cut back dependence on county jails and emergency rooms and as a substitute depend on cellular disaster companies, we are able to lower your expenses and be sure that these in disaster get the assistance they want.
Cell disaster response companies serve a broad vary of conditions. They’ll display for people’ threat of self-harm and hurt to others, de-escalate and resolve conflicts, present peer assist, coordinate with medical and behavioral well being companies and comply with up with mandatory referrals.
People experiencing a psychological well being disaster require specialised care that extends past the bounds of the fast disaster. Psychological well being professionals can optimize public security whereas concurrently navigating complicated psychological well being conditions. Crises don’t simply occur Monday by means of Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and neither can disaster response companies.
In fact, cellular disaster response is just one instrument within the continuum of care. However funding these applications will go a great distance in the direction of offering higher look after these in important want and can enable legislation enforcement officers to concentrate on the work they’re skilled to do.
Because the Bangor Police Division said of their testimony in assist of this invoice, we can not adequately care for people experiencing a psychological well being disaster by means of the legal justice system. That’s why we have to correctly spend money on county-based companies that give folks the assist they want after they discover themselves in psychological well being emergencies. By increasing disaster response items in Maine, we are able to alleviate the burden positioned on legislation enforcement officers, save municipalities cash and higher serve these in want.