Faribault is latest community to face its mental health needs

Faribault you’re on the clock. Or you will be soon.

It’s the latest Minnesota community where someone is trying to do something about access to mental health care, something that everyone gets behind elsewhere until — we’re looking at you, Forest Lake — people object.

Faribault’s Community Vision 2040 and the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority had identified mental health care and chemical treatment facility as a community need, calling on the city to promote “the building of a mental health facility with the community to meet the community’s needs.”

Now comes the hard part. Promoting the idea.

Meridian Behavioral Health has approached the city with plans for two facilities: one an outpatient medication treatment clinic and the other a longer term inpatient treatment center.

“Addition is a huge challenge and I’d welcome that type of treatment in our community,” Councilor Elizabeth Cap said at a meeting this week, according to the Faribault Daily News. “I’d like to see people recover, but do I want it in my community? Probably not. Not when I’m raising children here. It puts a strain on our emergency personnel, too. There’s a lot of questions that come up.”

John Seymour, Meridian’s vice president of marketing and business development, replied that getting people off drugs will reduce crime and create less stress on emergency services.

Meridian already has a treatment facility on a horse farm in Owatonna, Minn., for privately-insured patients.

“Why wouldn’t you go out to Owatonna first because you’re already established their first?” another council member asked Seymour.

Faribault has a need, Seymour replied to the council member, who said she supports the idea.

“It’s better for our community to have it close,” Mayor Kevin Voracek said. “We are dealing with it all the time. We might as well have it here to help clean up our community.”

Things appear to be getting worse, not better, in Minnesota when it comes to mental health crises.

Canvas Health’s Crisis Connection, which runs the 24/7 hotline, is shutting down at the end of the month because state officials and lawmakers couldn’t or wouldn’t agree on funding.

Today, three separate departments of Minnesota government issued a joint statement on the situation:

We understand that as of June 30, 2018, Crisis Connection will no longer be providing crisis hotline services. It is important for the public to know that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will continue to be available without interruption at 800-273-TALK (8255).

In addition, Minnesota has had and will continue to have 24/7 crisis services available across the state, available both by phone and in person. If someone is having a mental health crisis, services are available by calling their county’s crisis phone number.

A list of numbers can be found at mn.state/dhs/crisis, or, in the metro area, call **CRISIS (274747) from a mobile phone. (This mobile phone service will soon be available statewide.) Finally, text crisis services are available 24/7 by texting MN to 741741.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services expects no interruption in Gambling Help Line services, also managed by Crisis Connection. Likewise, the Department of Agriculture is also committed to continuing Farm and Rural Helpline for the people of Minnesota.

(h/t: Audrey Helbling)