Joomla Templates and Joomla Extensions by zootemplate.Com

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Mental Health America of North Dakota

Carlotta McCleary - Letter to the Editor of the Bismarck Tribune

CARLOTTA MCCLEARY, Bismarck
Bismarck Tribune; April 20, 2015

The North Dakota mental health and substance abuse systems are in crisis according to Renee Schulte in her report of July 2014. The report was commissioned by contract with Legislative Management after being selected by the North Dakota Legislature for study during the interim. She gives the bad news by saying that the situation is dire and that many of the challenges facing the state are self-imposed.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s recommended budget for the next two years suggested a reasonable start to begin to address the crisis. As his executive budget makes its way through the legislative process it appears that support is absent. Appropriations committees, both House and Senate, have stripped funding for critical services including suicide prevention, mobile on-call crisis services, autism-related services, and residential beds for those in crisis, and employment training services for people with mental health and substance abuse disorders. If these legislative actions aren't remedied the crisis will continue and worsen across the state. Many people with mental health disorders will remain on waiting lists and receive no services at all. Families and advocates are left to scramble to find any help to prevent or address a crisis. People end up homeless, in jail or institutionalized or hospitalized without available preventive services. This lack of response is likely to result in a costly and unnecessary class action lawsuit reminiscent of the ARC lawsuit of the 1980s, a caution given a year ago by consultant Schulte.

There is still time to turn this around. Legislators should be hearing from their constituents that this is not how North Dakota chooses to treat people with disabilities or to address a crisis. Support these services that were laid out by the Schulte report and recommended in the governor's budget. Legislators requested the report, paid for the report and ought to take its advice.