Sen. Van Hollen introduces legislation to change response for mental, behavioral health crises
MARYLAND – Maryland’s U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen introduced federal legislation on Thursday to fund community response teams. He says the goal is to help people experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis.
According to the nonprofit Treatment Advocacy Center, about three percent of United States adults suffer from a severe mental illness. However, they reportedly make up one quarter to one half of all fatal law enforcement encounters. Senator Van Hollen says the Community Based Emergency Response Act would create a grant program to establish local programs that provide a non law enforcement response to situations involving mental health concerns.
“This is necessary to ensure that we stop the criminalization of poverty, stop the criminalization of mental health, stop the criminalization of substance use disorders,” says Maryland’s United States Senator Chris Van Hollen.
Senator Van Hollen says, if passed, the bill would authorize a five year initiation grant of $100 million starting in fiscal year 2021 through the year 2025. The grant program would be through the Department of Health and Human Services.