TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Local legislators took a tour of mental health facilities provided throughout Tippecanoe County.
The tour was hosted by The Mental Health Care Forum Legislative Group. Their goal is to spread awareness of services that are provided throughout the community. These services give out help in substance abuse, homelessness, depression, and other mental illnesses.
Valley Oaks Director Zoe Frantz says they are in a workforce crisis when it comes to mental health care.
"I would like the community's voice to help us and being that voice to say hey we need workforce here in Tippecanoe County when it comes to mental health," said Frantz. "You have to be that voice contact your legislators, your representatives."
Their goal is to get a legislative effort to find a resolution to fill these gaps.
"Whether it would be a loan forgiveness program, or increasing reimbursement rates, to help get more staff to come out and work within mental health," said Frantz.
Director of the Drug-Free Coalition Jennifer Swartz says even though that they are well funded they still struggle.
"I'm hoping the legislatures will see some of the great work that we are doing throughout the community," said Swartz. "But they also see that we still have gaps and more funding is needed to address these (mental health) issues in our community."
The tour gave an up-close and personal view of how patients and health care officials deal with their everyday lives.
State Senator District 22, Ron Alting an attendee on the tour says that it has to be a collaborative effort for mental health.
"Well, it's been incredibly educational touring the mental health facilities in Tippecanoe County," stated Alting. "But the number one is that they're working together. Hospitals are working with private sectors and with law enforcement and that makes it a truly collaborative approach and that's really important."
Legislators were able to observe and learn about services such as Limestone Health, Willow Stone Family Services, Valley Oaks Health, Franciscan EmPATH Unit, Mental Health of America, Sycamore Springs, NAMI, Drug-Free Coalition, and QRT-Quick Response Team.