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Action Alert!

Action Needed Now!
(posted on behalf of NAMI and the entire mental health community)
The Minnesota house and senate have set their budget “targets.” What does this mean?  It means that they give a certain amount of money to each committee to spend in their area (transportation, education, etc.) thus creating the state budget. 
The Emily Program Foundation and the entire mental health community are extremely upset that the target for health and human services is lower than the Governor’s proposed budget and will require CUTS in health and human services of around $150 Million. This means that not only will we not be able to have new spending for things such as school-linked mental health, family psycho-education, crisis services, supportive housing or rate increases to providers –  but we will see cuts to programs.
We believe that if we act now we can change this scenario. If you believe that our mental health system is underfunded and fragile, you need to act. If you believe that it is very difficult to obtain the treatment and supports needed for children or adults with mental illnesses, you need to act.
Here is what we need every advocate to do:
  
  1. Call the leadership of the house and senate and say “ I (live with a mental illness, have a family member/child with a mental illness, work in the mental health field) and I strongly urge you to increase the target for the health and human services budget. The mental health system has been cut over $60 million the past four years and it cannot take any more cuts. Do not balance the budget on the backs of children and adults with mental illnesses.”  Make the calls NOW and TOMORROW.  The phone numbers are: Senator Bakk, 651-296-8881;Senator Sieben, 651-297-8060;Representative Thissen, 651-296-5375;Representative Murphy, 651-296-8799

 

  • Call your own state senator and representative and leave that same message. If your legislator is holding a town hall meeting next week, attend it and give them that same message. One thing to remember is that there are “internal” politics and so our friends who want to change this need to say “I am hearing from my constituents.” 

 

 

  • Write a letter to the editor. Remember, the legislature is taking a break next week. We would like to see letters to the editor in every paper, particularly the ones in greater Minnesota. Trust us when we say that this will have a huge impact. Since many papers are weekly – please send it now. Here is the basic outline for your letter, please put it in your own words:

 

During the last three to four years major cuts were made to the health and human services budget. There were over $60 million in cuts made to the mental health system – a system that everyone knows is fragile and underfunded. I can’t understand why the Democrats in the legislature would propose cutting over $150 million from health and human services. This funding takes care of children and adults with mental illnesses, people with disabilities and older adults. It funds mental health centers and providers, hospitals, and nursing homes. I urge our legislators to revisit this decision – it will have a negative impact on our community.

 

Please take action today. We cannot wait. Our mental health system cannot withstand further cuts.

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