Sen. Breen bill to review, improve mental health services in Maine signed into law

Posted: July 02, 2019 | Health and Human Services, Senator Breen

Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth.

AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills signed legislation introduced by Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, to form a working group to study and recommend improvements for mental health services in Maine into law on Friday, June 28.

“Creating a cohesive, sensible and compassionate policy on mental health treatment has been a goal of mine since I entered public life,” said Sen. Breen. “As Senate Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, I am confident that this new approach will make the best use of state resources by investing our energy and money where it will best help Mainers in need. As the parent of someone with a mental illness, I am thankful that the Legislature and Gov. Mills are committed to making overdue changes to our mental health services policy.”

LD 1602, “Resolve, Establishing the Working Group on Mental Health” establishes the Working Group on Mental Health to assess Maine’s capacity to serve people with mental health concerns. The working group will meet over the summer and fall, and report back to the Legislature in 2020 to propose a comprehensive mental health plan of action for the state. The goal is to find out how best to shift state funding and resources to community-based services, where Mainers dealing with mental health concerns can receive early intervention assistance, instead of pushing the bulk of funding toward services that help Mainers only after they have entered a crisis situation.

The working group will consist of 18 people, including two members each from the Senate and House of Representatives and assignees from Disability Rights Maine, the Maine Sheriffs’ Association, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine, among others. The law takes effect immediately.