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These three statistics don't add up well

Take a look at these three statistics:

  • Law enforcement officials arrest Black Americans at more than twice the rate of white Americans.

  • Approximately half of people in jail have been told by a mental health professional that they have a mental illness.

  • Prosecutors are more likely to recommend "pretrial diversion," including mental health treatment, to white defendants than to Black or Hispanic defendants in similar circumstances.

Our country is facing a mental health care crisis. It's long-past time that access to mental health care became a right for all that need it, not a luxury for the fortunate few.

That's why I just introduced a bill to expand nationwide the successful CAHOOTS program run by White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon.

My bill would build on its ideas by increasing Medicaid funding to both limit over-policing in communities of color and knock down access barriers to sorely-needed mental health resources.

CAHOOTS has been leading this fight for 30 years, and through its work, and seeing the proven success of sending health care responders, not police, to address mental health-related crises, we need to bring the Oregon way to the national level.

It's time for our country to value mental health care the way we do physical care. Because when communities feel secure - physically and mentally - everyone's health outcome improves.


Posted on August 6, 2020.

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Ron Wyden & Jeff Merkley at a health care rallyRon Wyden is a champion for our progressive values -- standing up for consumers and the middle class, fighting for digital privacy and an open internet, protecting our planet and Oregon's special places, and always insisting on human rights and equality for all.

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