Poll the state, and we believe you would find near-unanimous agreement that Utah is not doing enough to address mental health problems. Few states do.
The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health is the state’s authority on such issues. However, counties that operate under a county executive-council form of government act as the authority within their jurisdictions. As is often the case, many times the right hand is unaware of what the left is doing, and important care for those suffering from mental health conditions can fall through the cracks.
HB 57, from Representative Dean Sanpei (Republican, Provo), is an attempt to bridge that gap between counties and the state. It adds new code to the law requiring that counties “cooperate with efforts of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to promote integrated programs that address an individual’s substance abuse, mental health, and physical healthcare needs.” It also adds additional language requiring that the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health itself undertake a thorough evaluation of the effectiveness of its programs, including a consideration of how its programs will effect jail and prison populations, the homeless, and the child welfare system.
In a perfect world, we would prefer to see legislation that places a greater emphasis on creating new mental health programs that effectively diagnose those who are mentally ill and provide subsequent treatment. But with the frequently-slow moving state government, we’re still pleased to see positive movement.
To contact Rep. Sanpei, Click Here or call 801-979-5711
Impact on Average Utahn:
High Impact 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 No Impact
Necessary 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 Unnecessary
Great Bill 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5 Poor Bill