House Bill 2831 would fund three "peer respite centers" to service those having a mental health crisis. The centers would cost more than $2 million and would be overseen by the Oregon Health Authority. "Oregon ranks last or second to last in being able to provide our citizens with appropriate mental health needs," said Hayden. Right now, those experiencing a mental health crisis often end up in the criminal justice system or some kind of hospital. "Public safety is called, you know, a county sheriff might be called to interact with that situation," explained Hayden. If the affected person hasn't done anything criminally wrong, the only other option is often a hospital. "Unfortunately, the county sheriff doesn't have a place for that person to go so they might end up in the local hospital in the emergency room," said Hayden. The peer respite centers would be home-like, with room for up to six people. People could simply go there to receive support from peers who have gone through similar circumstances. Advocates say funding the centers is much cheaper than what's available now. "Hospitals are very expensive, and hospitals are often not the right location for individuals who are in a mental health crisis," said Jeffrey Eisen, chief medical officer at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. "It has been determined that it is less expensive than hospitals and it is less expensive than a jail system." One center would be placed in the Portland metro area, one in southern Oregon, and one in eastern Oregon. Hayden believes it's time to start treating mental health in a different way. "A lot of times, in mental health, what these people really need is a friend more than they need a county jail," said Hayden.
Oregon state Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Roseburg, has proposed a pilot project of mental health service centers across Oregon.
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Oregon state representative proposes new mental health centers
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by Lincoln Graves, KATU News | February 1, 2019
CedricHaydencap
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
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