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Mental Health Community Forum is Wednesday

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news Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401


Rep. John Ward, DFL — Baxter, is encouraging constituents to attend Wednesday’s Mental Health Community Forum in Brainerd. Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, is hosting the forum, which is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at Central Lakes College, 501 W. College Drive, Room: E203.


There is a critical shortage of mental health care workers in Minnesota at all levels. To address this issue, the 2013 Legislature charged the Minnesota State College and Universities (MNSCU) to convene a summit and develop a statewide mental health workforce plan to:

1. Develop a comprehensive plan to increase the number of qualified people working at all levels of the mental health system.

2. Ensure appropriate course work and training.

3. Create a more culturally diverse mental health workforce.

Part of the summit process is to gather information from mental health providers, employers, consumers, educators and others from around the state through these community forums.

While Ward cannot attend the event due to the legislative session, he has been a leader and advocate on mental health issues, and is encouraging constituents to attend the forum if they can.

“We know that mental health and mental illness are serious issues in our state and country and ensuring we have enough mental health care workers is absolutely critical,” Ward said. “Helping people with mental illnesses control and manage their conditions makes fiscal sense, economic sense, and it’s just plain old the right thing to do. Providing support for people with mental illnesses is important in education, can help prevent homelessness and can help people climb out of poverty.

“We need a comprehensive, statewide solution to our mental health care worker shortage, and I encourage folks to attend this forum if they can.”