Local News

Bill to build a better mental health care system for Indiana passes committee

A Senate Republican Caucus priority bill authored by State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) that would improve access to mental health care for Hoosiers was amended and passed out of committee unanimously.


Senate Bill 1 would provide ongoing funding to build out a system of certified behavioral health clinics, establishing the next step for improving our mental health care system.


The amendment adopted today provides small changes to the bill that establish clarified timelines for the Family and Social Services Agency, changes the number of members on the Behavioral Health Commission to 12, including four appointed by the legislature, and puts performance measures in place to ensure Indiana has care where it is most needed.


"Mental health is an ongoing issue that Hoosiers are facing, affecting individuals, families and communities," said Crider. "It is imperative that Hoosiers suffering from mental illness know they have someone to call, someone to respond and a safe place to go."


According to data collected by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, approximately 22% of Hoosiers experience mental illness each year, and half of Hoosiers with serious mental illness go untreated. Combining the direct health care costs, the non-health care services and the indirect costs, the total economic burden of untreated mental health in Indiana is around $4.2 billion.


Following the implementation of the 9-8-8 National Suicide and Crisis Line last year, SB 1 will help  Indiana continue to improve access to mental-health services and infrastructure to ensure Hoosiers have access to the resources they need.


SB 1 will now be considered by the full Senate.