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Indiana faith leaders packed the statehouse to discuss SB1, mental health funding

Posted at 11:50 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 23:50:39-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana faith leaders are challenging lawmakers to change the status quo when it comes to mental health. Tuesday afternoon, supporters flooded the statehouse to make sure a bill that would address the mental health crisis gets the attention they say it deserves.

"We rank 40 out of 50 states when it comes to support of mental health services," said Bishop Julius Trimble of the United Methodist Church.

That ranking is something faith leaders are hoping the Hoosier state will soon overcome.

"The answer to this mental health crisis is not to lock people up in jail," said a member of Indiana Faith Leaders.

The group met with legislators and presented a letter, standing firm on their push for Senate Bill 1.

"The letter is saying that we want to make sure there's adequate funding. There's a number to call, there's a person who will respond and there are places for people to go," said Trimble.

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

"We think this is a bill that deserves adequate funding because a bill without funding is just a statement on paper," said Trimble.

The bill is currently awaiting a committee hearing in the House after passing in the Senate.

"It also put forth the pathway towards sustainability ensuring that we could absolutely fund this project, and this program and this infrastructure for decades to come," said Rep. Victoria Garcia Wilburn.

In response to the Senate's unanimous support of the bill, Wilburn said she cannot applaud this bill enough. She thinks it can easily pass in the house.

"This is long overdue ... we hope to see that it has unanimous bi-partisan support," said Wilburn.

The legislative session wraps up at the end of April.

"There are a lot of things that make a claim on our state budget and our state resources, but we think this should be one of the top priorities," said Trimble.