Week of January 28, 2019
Since the legislature convened for the 105-day 2019 legislative session, things have been moving quickly with behavioral health policy front and center. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate held hearings on the Governor's proposed budget, which proposes to spend more than $670 million on transforming our state's behavioral health care system.
These investments are a good start, but we need more. Specifically, NAMI Washington Director of Public Policy & Advocacy Brad Forbes encouraged the House and Senate to:
- Include funding for school-based mental health services to provide early intervention
- Increase funding for community-based programs that keep people in recovery and prevent relapses
- Grow our investments in housing programs such as the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) Program. More than 75% of people referred to HEN have a diagnosed mental illness, and this program has been shown to provide people with needed stability.
We will keep you up to date on these issues and others as they develop throughout the session.
Below are NAMI Washington's 2019 top legislative priorities:
Teaching children critical mental health skills
Providing accurate information about mental health and teaching about early intervention will encourage early intervention, shortening recovery time and reduce future costs.
Improving behavioral health options for youth & families
Improving the ability of parents to assist their youth by increasing access to information and expanding treatment options.
Supporting the Trueblood lawsuit settlement
Improves the competency and restoration process for individuals in jail with mental illness. Beyond ensuring that evaluations are done timely, the settlement focuses on diversion and policy changes to limit the number of individuals needing competency and restoration.
Investing in inpatient care and early intervention
- Support investments in community-based inpatient facilities, providing better care closer to home
- Fund housing with wrap-around services to keep people stable while they recover from a crisis
- Invest in peer support programs to allow patients to receive support from people they can relate to