Many Hoosiers suffer from depression and other mental health conditions, and there are critical steps we can take to ensure they have the support, counseling and care they need.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 30 percent of high school students across the country have reported symptoms of depression. In fact, 1 in 5 students have some form of mental-health related issues, and Indiana has one of the highest rates of teens that have had serious suicidal thoughts.
As a serious health issue plaguing our communities, lawmakers are implementing commonsense solutions to address mental health. This session, the General Assembly passed several laws giving young Hoosiers additional support and counseling.
All children deserve access to mental health resources if they want and need it, and a new law provides valuable mental health options to some of our most vulnerable. Indiana schools will partner with certified mental health providers and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to offer students from low-income households counseling therapy, addiction intervention and prevention services. Through important mental health resources, children can get the help they need while still participating in valuable class time and work.
Another law will improve communication between mental health patients, care providers, paramedics and officials by implementing Individualized Mental Health Safety Plans. These plans will contain important information about the patient’s condition and appropriate treatment methods. Sharing this critical information with qualified supporters could improve patient care and save lives.
The nation is facing a shortage of mental health and addiction workers. Indiana is combating this by allowing highly qualified students and trainees to provide addiction counseling to Hoosiers. Certain educational and clinical experience requirements are being modified, such as requiring 100 hours of supervision from a licensed clinical addiction counselor who has at least five years of experience as a qualified supervisor. It is important for mental health patients to have access to counselors and doctors so that they can receive the care they need.
While many Hoosiers are struggling with mental health challenges, we can make a difference through better support and counseling. If someone you know is working through depression or are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 2-1-1 to be connected with counseling and support resources.
State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75,
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.
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