Gov. Walker signs 7 bills to improve mental health services

Published 02/06 2014 04:41PM

Updated 02/06 2014 07:31PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)-- Among adults with serious psychological distress—less than half received mental health treatment or medication. That’s according to the most recent data from the Wisconsin Human Services Department.

“Mental health care is certainly a very legitimate concern," said Jeremy Kral, the executive director of Brown County Human Services.

But those statistics could soon change. 

Gov. Scott Walker signed seven bills Thursday at the Brown County Human Services Department that will help improve overall access to treatment.

“There are ways that we can provide, just like we do with other health issues, treatment to make sure that people are viable and productive parts of our society," said Gov. Walker.

The state has set aside nearly $30 million towards mental illness support. 

Part of the money will go towards improving children psychiatric programs, programs to train adults with mental illness the skills they need to get hired, and crisis intervention for local law enforcement agencies.

“We can now provide in home counseling services to youth without requiring that they fail a [treatment test] so that will allow earlier interventions and more quality intervention," said Kral.

For local law enforcement—this money means training more officers to deal with mental health issues.

Captain Jeremy Muraski with the Green Bay Police Dept. said, “We’re trying to solve the underlying issues and maybe get people connected with caregivers or support network and hopefully get them a better quality of life that have those interactions with the criminal justice department in the first place.”

And for rural areas in the state—this legislation means more access to physicians. 

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