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Bill To Increase Beds At State Mental Hospital Passes Out Of Committee

Tall, orange brick apartment buildings against a blue sky.
Photo by Chris Gerber on Unsplash

A bill that would provide one million dollars in one-time funding and nearly five million dollars in ongoing funds seeks to add 30 beds to the Utah State Mental Hospital. It would also improve supports, including housing assistance, for people after they are released.  



This week, the Mental Health Treatment Access Amendments passed its second reading in committee. It is now scheduled for debate on the house floor. The bill could make a big difference for people who need intensive mental health treatment, says Andrew Riggle, a public policy advocate at the Disability Law Center. 


“About 40% or more of the calls that the Disability Law Center receives are for folks who have some sort of mental health diagnosis and are looking for help with access to treatment or other resources over the short or the long term,” Riggle said. 


The bill also provides for substance abuse prevention. If passed, Riggle said it could help those who have been hospitalized to keep from going back. 


“Because these individuals who will eventually be transitioning out of the inpatient system, they will need somewhere to transition to, and to make sure they have the supports in place that they need to make sure that they have the best chance possible not to have to return,” Riggle said. 


This story was produced in partnership with the Center for Persons with Disabilities.