April 18, 2018
AUGUSTA – Two bills sponsored by Rep. Jim Handy to improve Maine’s awareness and treatment resources for mental health have been enacted by the Maine House of Representatives.House enacts Rep.
“The LePage administration has tried to cut Maine’s mental health treatment system at a time when we should be investing,” said Handy, D-Lewiston. “The health and safety of Maine people and especially our kids should be our first priority, not first on the chopping block.”
The first bill, “An Act to Enhance and Increase the Availability of Mental Health Providers in Maine,” would establish mental health providers as a class of medical professionals under the Finance Authority of Maine’s Maine Health Professions Loan Program and the Maine Health Professions Loan Forgiveness Program. This would address the shortage of mental health care providers in Maine by encouraging students to enter the profession. LD 1879 passed in the House for final enactment by a vote of 125-2. It will now go to the Senate where it will be placed on the Special Appropriations Table to await $1 million in funding.
The second bill, “An Act to Increase Youth Mental Health Awareness in Schools” to create a mental health awareness program for Maine schools modeled by the National Alliance of Mental Illness’ “Youth Mental Health First Aid certification.” LD 1866 has been enacted by both the House and Senate and now awaits the governor’s signature. He has until April 25 to either sign or veto the bill or let it become law without his signature.
Lindsay Crete [Handy], c. 231-1442