“Mental health is health” is the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ theme for May’s Mental Health Month. That slogan reminds Minnesotans that not only are mental illnesses common and treatable, but access to mental and chemical health care is an essential part of everyone’s health.
Each year, one in five Minnesotans experience mental illness, and one in 25 people live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Fortunately, there are more treatments, services and community support than ever before, and, as a result, many people with mental illness can and do recover.
“It is critical that people with mental illness get the care they need,” says Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “It’s no different than any other health condition. Just like treatment for cancer, people with mental illness need the right specialized medical care.”
In order to increase access for all Minnesotans to receive the right care at the right time, building a continuum of care has been a focus for the state for several years. People need to receive the most appropriate mental health care in their own communities. Referral to more intensive care and treatment other than what is required comes as a great expense to patients and providers as individuals then must travel great distance from their homes and families. While progress has been made, most areas of the state still do not have the range of services to meet the need of Minnesotans requiring mental health care.
Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed reforms to streamline access to substance use disorder treatment, ensure more than 700 children’s residential mental treatment beds remain available, and support counties’ efforts to expand community-based mental health services. The governor’s budget also calls new funding to improve safety and quality at state-operated mental health facilities that serve as a safety-net for vulnerable Minnesotans who are not served by other providers.
A recent study by Minnesota Management and Budget found that offering mental health services to the most vulnerable Minnesotans provides real cost savings to the taxpayer and to the state’s economy in reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations, job loss, involvement in the criminal justice system and premature death.
As part of Mental Health Month, DHS created a web page
(mn.gov/dhs/mental-health) offering information about mental health and how we can provide the right care for all Minnesotans.