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Bill that will support mental health funding is heading to the Indiana House

Posted at 11:38 PM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-13 23:38:42-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It's a health crisis lawmakers say is costing the state billions. There's a push to put mental health funding to better use.

Supporters of a bill introduced this session tell WRTV's Amber Grigley it could set the state up with a way to save more lives.

Jodie Moser, an organizer and advocate for Faith In Indiana, and her family are still grieving nearly two years after her brother's death.

"My brother, about a year and a half ago in July of 2021 was having a mental health crisis. He was threatening to commit suicide," said Moser.

His wife called 911 for help.

"An officer arrived. There was no one in the house, it was just my brother, and within about 10 minutes, my brother was dead," said Moser.

Jodie said although this incident happened in Florida, her brother Adam is still a Hoosier, making Senate Bill 1 personal for her and her family.

"We have to start treating mental health from a viewpoint that's reimagined and not like a law enforcement issue. Because police officers are not trained, and a lot of police officers and law officials across the state are firmly behind this bill," said Moser.

Senate Bill 1 was introduced by Senator Michael Crider.

"Indiana is trying to move forward in this delivery of services," said Crider.

The bill would establish a statewide crisis response system to support Hoosiers going through a mental health or substance use situation.

"I want my colleagues to keep in mind that without a robust delivery of services, we're leaving our constituents vulnerable to really bad outcomes," said Crider.

Saturday, faith and community leaders joined together, asking lawmakers to approve all $130 million of funding outlined in the bill so that all Hoosiers can access three things.

"So, it's a number to call, someone to talk with, and a safe place to go," said Rep. Victoria Garcia Wilburn.

The bill passed the Senate Monday. It's now heading to the House for hearings.

"I cannot applaud this bill enough. It definitely sets the foundation for improvements in our infrastructure," said Wilburn. "I think the unanimous support in the Senate is indicative of the pathway this bill will have in the House. I cannot see resistance in the forecast."

"This is a bill about people and about making our communities safe and caring and helping to make Indiana a state that people want to live in and raise a family and do those things," said Moser.

Hearings for Senate Bill 1 in the House will start after the session break in early March.