A new law appropriates $92.7 million to fund mental health programs and initiatives ranging from establishing loan forgiveness for mental health professionals to expanding the use of mobile crisis service teams.
The law, effective June 3, 2022, unless noted otherwise, is sponsored by Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina) and Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake). Policy provisions that relate to federal programs take effect the later of July 1, 2023 or upon federal approval.
A State Competency Restoration Board in the judicial branch is established and will be funded with $22.3 million beginning in the 2024-25 biennium to hire and oversee “forensic navigators,” whose duties would include coordinating mental health services to criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Another $10.1 million in the 2024-25 biennium is appropriated to district courts to pay for additional competency examination costs and for expanded mental health services to those criminal defendants. (Art. 3; Secs. 1-2)
Mobile crisis services funded by a $9.6 million appropriation in fiscal years 2024-25 will provide a rapid response to individuals in a mental health crisis. These teams will be comprised of mental health professionals and practitioners who provide psychiatric services to individuals within their own homes and at other sites outside the traditional clinical setting. (Art. 3, Sec. 13)
Oher funding provisions in fiscal year 2023, unless noted, include:
• $10.2 million in fiscal year 2025 and an additional $10.1 million in fiscal year 2026 and thereafter for adult mental health initiative grants;
• $2.9 million for intensive residential treatment service providers to provide treatment in locked facilities for patients transferred from a jail or deemed incompetent to stand trial;
• $2.5 million for grants to mental health providers to supervise interns and clinical trainees working toward becoming a mental health professional;
• $2 million for school-linked behavioral health grants;
• $2 million for shelter-linked youth mental health grants;
• $1.6 million for educational loan forgiveness for mental health professionals;
• $1.2 million for a mental health urgency room pilot program;
• $1 million for a health care professionals mental health grant program; and
• $1 million for a grant for a licensed community mental health center specializing in services for African American children and families (Art. 3; Secs. 2-3, 7, 9-12, 18-19).
Policy provisions in the new law include:
• codifying many of the court rules governing the competency restoration process, requires community supervision of some individuals who are not competent to stand trial and are not committed to a mental health hospital, permits the use of forced medication to restore some individuals to competency, and creates timelines for regular review of defendants who are receiving competency restoration services;
• establishing procedures for county boards to inventory and evaluate the adult mental health initiative services they provide;
• modifying when children referred to a treatment center because of severe emotional disturbance need to undergo a clinical assessment;
• developing a public awareness campaign on the signs and symptoms of a first episode of psychosis for at-risk youth; and
• establishing additional licensing requirements for children’s residential facilities providing crisis stabilization services (Art. 1; Secs. 6, 10-12).