INDIANAPOLIS – Several Hoosiers testified before a state Senate committee Thursday, urging them to pass a bill allocating more funding for mental health services.
Senate Bill 1, one of the Indiana Senate Republicans’ top priorities this legislative session, would allocate $30 million toward expanding the number of certified community behavioral health clinics, which provide care 24/7. The bill, which has bipartisan backing, would also fund the 988 mental health crisis lifeline.
During Thursday’s Senate Appropriations committee hearing, some Hoosiers shared personal stories. Cathy Weinmann spoke about her grandson with autism.
“If he finds himself in an emergency situation, I can tell you what will happen,” she said. “He will have a complete and total meltdown.”
Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate Suzanne Crouch also testified before the committee, telling the stories of mental health struggles in her family.
“I was raised by a mother who suffered from depression,” Crouch said. “My sister Nancy died by suicide in her early 20s. We just buried my brother Larry in November. He was an alcoholic. My husband’s father was an alcoholic. Our daughter Courtney is 12 years sober and bipolar.”
Crouch co-chairs the Indiana Mental Health Roundtable, which advocates for ways to improve access to care.
“The untreated cost of mental illness in Indiana is over $4 billion,” Crouch said. “So we cannot afford not to pass Senate Bill 1.”
The goal behind the bill is to provide a more effective response to mental health crises and get Hoosiers the help they need more quickly, according to State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield), the bill’s author.
“We can get that help to folks when they need it immediately, or as early as possible,” Crider said. “They won’t end up in our emergency rooms and hopefully they won’t end up in our county jails.”
The Senate Appropriations committee is expected to consider amendments and vote on the bill as soon as next week.