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Lakes area to receive grant from new mental health funding

NISSWA—Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, said he is eager to see how a $260,958 mental health grant from new funding the Legislature provided in 2017 will improve the delivery of services in the region.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has awarded the grant to Adult Mental Health Initiative Region V Transitional Services, serving Aitkin Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties, along with the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Ojibwe bands.

The grant is one of six recently made available through a $2.17 million legislative appropriation for the new Mental Health Innovation Program. Funds for this grant program come from revenue captured from the county share of treatment costs at Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center and the Community Behavioral Health Hospital.

"For too long, mental health care has been difficult to access for Minnesotans living in rural areas of the state," Heintzeman said in a news release. "I am optimistic that this new funding will help ensure access to underserved areas of the state so that everyone can get the care they need."

According to DHS, the local funding will be used to "assess individuals and coordinate services so that the person may avoid needing inpatient mental health care, and for those who do need inpatient psychiatric care, start discharge planning at admission."

The DHS indicates new Mental Health Innovation Grant Program is "dedicated to improving access to and the quality of community-based, outpatient mental health services. A major goal of the program is to help people avoid stays in state regional treatment centers, community behavioral health hospitals and psychiatric hospitals, and expedite discharges for those who are in state facilities once they no longer meet medical criteria for hospital-level care."