Governor Walz signs $60 million mental health reform bill
The omnibus bill includes bipartisan reforms introduced in response to the KARE 11 series of inquiries “The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect”.
ST PAUL, Minnesota – On Thursday, June 2, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law a major investment in mental health services.
The $60 million mental health omnibus budget bill will help increase hospital bed capacity, expand Minnesota mental health services, and provide more opportunities to support professionals and staff in mental health.
The bill includes $30 million to establish services that treat and supervise people in Minnesota’s criminal justice system deemed unfit to stand trial.
The bipartisan reforms were introduced in response to the KARE 11 survey series “The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect”. The series was sparked by the case of Gregory Ulrich, who carried out a mass shooting at the Buffalo Allina Clinic in February 2021.
Walz signed the bill the same day Ulrich was found guilty of murder and other charges related to the attack, where he shot and killed Lindsay Overbay and injured four others.
KARE 11’s year-long investigation found there were thousands of cases in Minnesota involving people like Ulrich who were charged with a crime, deemed incompetent, and whose cases were dismissed without treatment or court-ordered mental health monitoring.
Prior to the shooting, Ulrich was charged with threatening to kill healthcare workers at the Buffalo clinic. However, these charges were dropped after Ulrich was deemed too mentally ill to stand trial. As a result, he was not treated or monitored before the shooting – and was able to legally obtain a gun.
Click here to learn more about “The Gap” series from the KARE 11 Investigation Team.
The omnibus bill also includes nearly $13 million to support children in mental health crisis and establishes a ‘first episode psychosis’ grant program, provides an additional $11 million over three years for initiative services in adult mental health, $9.6 million for mobile mental health crisis services, and $4.1 million to fund grants and loan forgiveness opportunities for mental health professionals.
“Everyone deserves access to mental health care that meets their needs, when they need it,” Walz said in a statement. “This omnibus bill is a bipartisan investment in mental health service infrastructure across the state so we can better reach youth and adults who may be in crisis, as well as support mental health providers who work hard to meet those needs. While this bill is a good step, more work needs to be done to ensure children and adults have access to the mental health services they need.
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