Oregon mental health care system could see significant expansion, money under legislative proposal
<snip> Steiner Hayward is coming forward as a public voice for mental health at a time when Oregon lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 823, which would significantly expand mental health care in Oregon. The bipartisan proposal plots a six-year effort to ramp up funding for community mental health programs, with an emphasis on early intervention and treatment of children and young adults.
Leading the effort is Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, who in February called for a "game-changing" investment in mental health care. His call came as lawmakers across the country discussed ways to reduce gun violence in the wake of shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
"I wanted to be clear that it's a more complicated debate and a lot of people live with mental health issues but are highly functional if it's well-controlled," Steiner Hayward said in an interview. "I have an opportunity -- because I'm a legislator and because I'm a physician -- to make the story they're telling with (Senate Bill) 823 very real, to be one of the public faces of people who need this."