May 1st marks the beginning of National Mental Health Awareness Month, which seeks to bring attention to the challenges faced by those living with mental health issues in our country. Some have estimated that as many as one out of four adults are diagnosable with mental health disorders each year and 20% of all children will have at some point in their life a seriously debilitating mental disorder.
Currently, the State Legislature is considering a $29 million initiative for mental health resources proposed in the Governor’s budget. Among the mental health provisions included in the budget are a focus on children’s mental health and increased counseling services for youth living with mental health challenges. In addition, a Special Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health, chaired by Representative Erik Severson, is holding hearings around the state and will be making recommendations to the Legislature regarding mental health care and services.