SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Concerns about mental health impact everyone either indirectly or directly; maybe it’s a personal struggle or something a loved one is facing. Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota has introduced a piece of legislation that seeks to direct money to help resolve these issues.
Johnson along with Kim Schrier, a Democratic representative from Washington state, have introduced the SUPPORT for Mental Health Act.
“For decades our country has underinvested in behavioral health,” Johnson said. “Substance abuse, mental health, these are national epidemics. What I want to do along with Kim Schrier is allow states the opportunity to take those dollars, the unspent COVID-19 dollars, and put them into a perpetual trust fund to be used for behavioral health.”
SUPPORT is an acronym standing for “Supporting Underserved Populations by Placing Our Resources in Trusts.”
“We’re providing states an opportunity to fund these programs in perpetuity as our country deals with these terrible epidemics of substance abuse and mental health,” Johnson said.
Johnson listed drug treatment programs as well as teen courts as impactful resources from a behavioral health trust fund.
“Almost everybody I know has been touched in a very real way by either mental health issues or substance abuse,” Johnson said. “Putting new resources on the ground, without raising taxes or deficit spending, is a powerful new tool for governors in their fight against behavioral health problems.”