ALBANY, Ore. -- The Linn County Board of Commissioners recently accepted a grant to help the county provide more services for people with mental health issues, but is worried the state of Oregon’s response to the issue is not enough.
Linn County commissioners believe the state of Oregon is shifting the burden of helping people with mental issues to local governments. On the morning of August 16 the county accepted a $226,000 grant from the Oregon Health Authority to provide counseling programs for people with mental illness who have been charged with a crime. This grant is part of a $1.35 billion package approved in the 2021 State Legislature that targets mental health issues.
The money is supposed to provide treatment, housing and other support for people who are not able to face a legal trial due to their mental health. Commissioners say they’re feeling the burden of these programs, especially since Oregon has closed mental health hospitals and reduced patient beds. Commissioners say they don’t have the hospitals to send patients to and don’t have the staff to help out. Commissioners also stress that this is a state-wide issue, and that other parts of the state are similarly overloaded.