An effort to improve mental health emergency responses by diverting emergency calls for mental health crises to mental health professionals was approved by a Senate committee Tuesday. “Mental health crises should be treated by mental health professionals,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), the legislation’s sponsor. “Receiving treatment from someone who is a trained professional in mental health support is the best and safest way to address a mental health crisis. When police or firefighters show up, it sometimes creates a more dangerous situation for everyone.” In July of 2020, the federal government laid the groundworks for 9-8-8 to become the new easy-to-remember number to call in the event of a mental health emergency, working similar to 9-1-1. House Bill 2784 would require local governments to coordinate 9-1-1 and 9-8-8 services, with the goal of diverting people with mental or behavioral health needs toward community care and away from incarceration or improper hospitalization. The measure passed the Senate Behavioral & Mental Health committee with bipartisan support and will now be sent to the full Senate for further consideration.
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May 20, 2021 at 06:12AM