Waiting List to Provide Treatment for Mentally Ill in Minnesota Keeps Growing

June 12, 2018 10:20 PM

Emily Piper, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the nearly $5.8 million dollars she did not get from the state legislature has hurt the department's efforts to get mentally ill people off a lengthy waiting list for treatment.

Piper said DHS needed the state to approve the bond request so 16 rooms could be finished at the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center. She said the extra beds would help put a dent in the waiting list, which now stands at more than 150 mentally ill people across Minnesota.


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"It does not solve the problem entirely," Piper said.  "But when you have someone who needs acute care it can take up to five beds to help one person because we have to wall off rooms in the main facility for safety reasons."

Piper said work has already begun on the 16-room wing of ARTC. But the project cannot be finished until the legislature approves the bonding request she intends to ask for again in 2019.

RELATED: St. Paul Police Launch New Unit Focused on Mental Health

"By adding these extra beds, we might be able to have room for as many as 30 to 40 people," Piper said.  "That's why we have some people, unfortunately, sitting in jail cells not getting the treatment they need."

Piper said if she gets the bonding money approved next year, she thinks the extra beds could be ready in either late 2019 or early 2020.



Jay Kolls

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