Madison – After months of hearings, the Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health voted to submit recommendations for legislation to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos today. The Task Force was formed in February in order to help eliminate barriers to treatment, promote early and voluntary intervention for those who need mental health services, improve coordination of care among those who treat individuals with mental illness, and reduce the stigma that often accompanies mental health diagnoses.
Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) will be authoring two bills based on the recommendations of the Task Force. The first bill sets up a system for family members to petition a judge for an emergency detention if they believe that law enforcement or a county has incorrectly denied one. “This bill will provide a check on the counties by allowing relatives who believe a loved one could be a danger to themself or others to have their voice heard before a judge,“ Jagler said.
The second bill would provide matching funds for counties for peer-run respite centers. “It’s clear from the testimony we’ve received in Task Force hearings that peer-run respite centers are effective because people with mental illness tend to feel more comfortable working with individuals who are familiar with what they are going through,” said Jagler.  “These centers, which are run by people who have successfully participated in mental health treatment programs in the past, help diffuse crisis situations and eliminate costly visits to emergency rooms and hospitals.”
Jagler’s bills and others based on the recommendations of the Mental Health Task Force will be introduced in the coming months.