AUGUSTA, Maine — Rep. Deane Rykerson, D-Kittery, is sponsoring a bill that would continue behavioral and mental health services for young adults after they graduate from high school.
“Young adulthood can be a challenging period of life for anyone,” said Rykerson. “Maine youth with behavioral or mental health issues shouldn’t be cut off from services at this critical time in their lives. It’s time we give them the attention they need.”
The measure would require providers to continue care or participate in “bridge” teams for students following graduation from high school.
Bridge teams would be responsible for identifying students who are likely to need behavioral and mental health services, developing plans to meet students’ needs, facilitating access to services and coordinating care after graduation.
MaineCare and private health insurance carriers would be required to provide coverage for the additional care.
Many health care organizations are supporting the bill including Maine Mental Health Partners.
Maine Mental Health Partners works to create a more navigable, consumer-friendly and better coordinated high-quality network of treatment services for those who experience mental illness and substance abuse.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maine has cut spending for mental health services by over $100 million since 2009. These reductions are pushing people with mental illness into the public safety system in record numbers.
For more information about the bill go to: http://www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280048392
Rykerson is serving his first term in the Maine House of Representatives and represents part of Kittery.