On Thursday, May 19, 2022, Children’s Minnesota joined the Mental Health Legislative Network and others for a press conference at the Minnesota State Capitol to call for increased investments in mental health services. Leaders from mental health advocacy groups joined together to express the urgent need to address the mental health crisis, noting specifically its impact on children and young adults across the state.
“Children’s Minnesota is seeing this crisis unfold in real time. Last year alone, we saw a 30% increase in the number of kids coming into our emergency departments seeking care for mental health concerns,” said Jamie Winter, director of mental health at Children’s Minnesota. “Emergency rooms are busy, loud and overwhelming for anyone, let alone a child in the midst of a mental health crisis. Partnerships and significant investments from the legislature and the Governor’s Office are crucial to improving mental health care for the kids of Minnesota.”
To help address this crisis, Children’s Minnesota is expanding our continuum of mental health care services. Our goal is to provide improved access, equitable care and treatment, improved outcomes, and ensuring a child is able to access the level of care they need. Children’s Minnesota is adding outpatient and inpatient mental health services throughout the Twin Cities – and we have partnered with community-based mental health providers such as Washburn Center for Children to meet the increased demand for care.
Legislative leaders and Governor Tim Walz announced a framework budget agreement that included $60 million in additional state spending for mental health over the next three years. However, details on how these resources will be spent are still being negotiated.
“The legislature must set aside sufficient funds for mental health for our priorities. We need to address the workforce crisis, shore up our current providers and expand services to meet the mental health needs of all Minnesotans, particularly people from diverse communities and our children,” said Sue Abderholden, Executive Director of NAMI Minnesota. “With such a huge budget surplus, now is the time to invest in our mental health system. The needs are great, and access is denied.”
Other speakers at Thursday’s press conference included: