News from Representative Tom Emmer

 

If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24/7: 1-800-273-8255.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental illness, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 800-950-NAMI OR TEXT "NAMI" TO 741741.

Dear Friend,

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and we should take this opportunity to lend a helping hand to those in our community who need it the most. Every year, 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental health condition. Thousands suffer every day, and much of it goes unnoticed and untreated.

We need to start prioritizing our mental health in the same way we do our physical health. During my time in Congress, I have made it a priority to make sure those suffering with mental illness receive the resources and care they deserve. I am committed to turning the tide on the unacceptably high rates of suicide in our country.

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Congressman Emmer visiting Neighborhood HealthSource, Central Clinic 

I am an original co-sponsor of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Expansion Act, which continues the investments in Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) to offer mental health services to those in need. CCBHCs expand mental health care to community-based settings, and Minnesota was only one of eight states to participate in the demonstration program. Initial analysis on this program demonstrated that CCBHCs actually reduce health care costs by offering preventative treatment for mental health.

This year, the non-profit mental health services provider People Incorporated - which uses the CCBHC model - is celebrating 50 years of service to those in need. Organizations like People Incorporated demonstrate just how these specialized clinics can provide desperately needed care to so many communities in Minnesota.

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Congressman Emmer speaking at the dedication of a Veterans Healing Garden

I am also a proud co-sponsor the Sgt. Brandon Ketchum Never Again Act, which was named after a veteran who was turned away from a VA facility in Davenport, Iowa after seeking psychiatric help. After being denied care, he tragically took his own life. This bill would ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs will offer veterans in-patient psychiatric care at either a VA facility close to their home, or a non-VA facility if the VA doesn't have the capacity or capability. Our veterans deserve the care they have earned, and it is our duty to ensure they receive it.

Earlier this year, I also ensured funding for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) to give states needed resources to provide mental health services for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Suicides within agriculture and rural communities are rising due to lack of mental health care and work related stress. They have suffered in silence for far too long, but help is on the way. 

This month, and year-round, we should be vigilant in checking on our loved ones, sharing resources, and ensuring those around us know that they are not alone. I will continue to do what I can to make the resources available to everyone in need.

Sincerely,

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