Mental Health/Substance Abuse

Indiana’s 2022-2023 Budget Addressing Mental Health Needs

  • Restored full funding for mental health programs, including Recovery Works, and appropriates an additional $100M over the biennium to fund mental health initiatives
  • Provided $40M each year in additional funding to increase hourly pay to $15 per hour for Direct Service Providers who serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Increased funding for sexual assault victims’ assistance by 33%, or about $500K per fiscal year
  • Restored the CHOICE In-Home Services appropriation

Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. Mental illness has wide-reaching effects on people’s education, employment, physical health, and relationships.  Although many effective mental health interventions are available, people often do not seek out the care they need.  It’s important to understand how common mental illness is, so we can understand its physical, social, and financial impact.

  • 21 % of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020  (52.9  million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.  1,129,000 adults in Indiana have a mental health condition, which is 4X the population of Fort Wayne.
  • 4.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2020  (11.4 million people). This represents 1 in 25 adults.
  • 18 %  of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2020 (7.7 million people). This represents 1 in 6 youth ages 6-17.  90,000 Hoosiers ages 12–17
    have depression.
  • 6.7 % of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2020 (17 million people)

In 2020 suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34.

Those with mental illness used to be institutionalized and when those institutions started being dismantled, mental health issues became largely criminalized.  It is time to stop using jails and prisons as default mental health facilities. Instead, we should divert non-violent offenders with mental illness and substance use disorders into treatment instead of incarceration. This would save lives, foster recovery, and reduce costs. We should also invest in community-based treatment that keeps people with mental illness out of jail in the first place and ultimately saves taxpayer money.

Addiction Does not Discriminate

Addiction is considered a mental health issue, and many times the underlying cause of addiction is a mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression, PTSD or ADHD.

The challenge of addiction affects all of us, from the nearly 700 babies born annually with effects of addiction to the child welfare, criminal justice and healthcare systems that are strained under the burden of the addiction crisis.

There is unprecedented momentum at the state and local levels to make conquering opiate addiction, which includes heroin and prescription painkillers, a top priority.  We also cannot ignore and must address the recent increase in methamphetamine use.  Individuals using methamphetamine have reported this it is cheaper, safer (the risk of overdose is not as high) , and more accessible then heroin.  According to Indiana’s drug intelligence officers local meth labs are no longer common as the Mexican drug cartel is providing a cheaper more potent alternative.

In order to combat substance abuse in Indiana we must first must build awareness while reducing stigma.  Secondly we must increase access to harm reduction services which includes decriminalization.  Decriminalization is not the same as legalization.  We must set into place policy that allows people who are addicted to drugs to get help from the state without entering the penal system.

Finally, Indiana desperately needs more trained professionals equipped to treat substance abuse, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners  and primary care providers.   We must make it a priority to increase the number of such providers, as well as create easier access to medication-assisted treatment.

addiction does not discriminte