NM lawmaker advocating for mental and behavioral health funding

Politics - Government

A House Democrat wants more help for people behind bars with mental illness. House Majority Floor Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton said the state needs to support people with mental health issues more than ever.

“New Mexico is a state that is considered one of the worst in the country for alcohol deaths, worst in the country for drug abuse and worst in the country for mental health services,” said Rep. Stapleton, (D) Albuquerque.

Rep. Stapleton said the bill would help people with behavioral or mental health problems during their time behind bars by giving them help with housing, medical and other services after they get released from jail.

Rep. Stapleton said the bill would better connect incarcerated people with resources to help keep them off the streets and from going back to jail again.

“All individuals whether it’s an adult, juvenile or a youth, and we’re hoping that this legislation would go very far to assist and help those individuals who need the support and the services for them,” said Rep. Stapleton.

Rep. Stapleton is asking the legislature to move $1.5 million from the general fund to the Human Services Department, which would give counties the ability to tap into that pool of money.

The bill was unanimously approved by one committee and it will move to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee before it gets to the floor.

This bill does not help with services for people who commit crimes but are found incompetent to stand trial and are let back out on the street.

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