Proposed Cut: The legislature has proposed cuts to the State Mental Health Block Grant, jeopardizing services for people facing mental health emergencies.
Consequence: The First Call Crisis Response Team of Itasca County is a 24/7 service that provides support and referrals to people facing mental health emergencies. Team members are available to talk with callers in crisis either in person or by phone, offering support for as long as necessary and connections to community resources including hospitals, medical clinics, mental health providers and law enforcement. A volunteer recently told a staff member, “It is a wonderful thing to be a part of saving a life by dispatching the Crisis Response Team to a mental health emergency situation.”
Over 1,700 calls were handled by the Itasca County Crisis Response Team in 2010. Because of the Crisis Response Team’s involvement, mental health hospital stays were reduced almost 20 percent, saving an average of $15,000 per person. In addition, over half of the contemplated suicides were not attempted. Without this important lifeline, Itasca County residents will bear a devastating cost both monetarily and with lives lost.
The Solution: Let’s protect Minnesota’s communities, residents and quality of life. We cannot afford to take a cuts-only approach to meeting our state’s needs, jeopardizing the wellbeing of families in crisis. Minnesotans know we need a balanced approach, one that includes raising revenues based on ability to pay, in order to maintain critical state services that support Minnesotans in tough times and invest in our future.
- For more information about proposed cuts that would impact First Call services in Itasca County, contact Sheila Hart at 218-326-8565.
- For more information about the 20 Ways in 20 Days Campaign or Invest in Minnesota, contact Leah Gardner at 651-757-3063.
- Download the PDF version of this story to spread the word about the impact of proposed budget cuts.