Senate President Peter Courtney to Increase Funding for Mental Health Services in Oregon

According to the press release from Wednesday February 6th, Senate President Peter Courtney challenged his colleagues to prioritize mental health services. He is seeking additional funding to increase mental health services in Oregon.

Back in January, when Sen. Courtney spoke about mental health issues in his interview with The Statesman Journal, he stated that the Oregon government has had many other issues to deal with and that mental health services have not yet been a priority.  Sen. Courtney indicated that he couldn’t get other legislators to view mental health as a priority but promised to keep working on it.

Noted in the press release is that one in eight children and one in 18 adults suffers mental illness in Oregon.

Sen. Courtney believes it is critical to make mental health a priority in the light of the recent tragedies:

“It’s a shame, but perhaps recent tragedies in Oregon and other states will finally force us to confront this widespread problem in our state. If we are willing to tackle this issue, we can dramatically improve the quality of life for thousands of Oregonians,” Courtney said.

 “If we’re going to get serious about treating mental illness in our state, we have to get serious about funding mental health services in our state,”…”It’s too important to put off any longer.”

As mentioned in the release, OHA’s Division of Addictions and Mental Health calculated that additional $331 million is needed to completely fund community mental health services. Out of $331 million, $285 is for crisis services, case management, outpatient programs and housing for mentally ill adults; and $46 million is for programs for children and young adults.

Sen. Courtney appears to be dedicated to this issue and is focused on finding additional funding sources for community mental health services in Oregon.