A group of mental health care providers in Maine is advocating for three new laws to help improve community resources for people with mental illness.
All three bills come down to state funding increases. Eric Meyer, the CEO of Spurwink, one of the organizations in the Behavioral Health Community Collaborative, says it's time.
"These are services that have been at flat or reduced rates for over a decade," Meyer says. "And we know that all these services contribute to lower health costs when we do a better job of meeting the needs of the community with mental health needs."
One bill would increase state funding to raise the salaries of people who care directly for behavioral health care patients.
Another would increase funding to help manage medication for people with severe and persistent mental illness so they can continue to live in their homes.
The third bill would help local emergency crisis service providers, with an eye toward keeping people in crisis out of jail, which collaborative members say costs considerably more than the 25 percent funding increase they're proposing.