Mental Health Trust Fund Formed As Part of State Settlement with Eli Lilly
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock announced a settlement last week with pharmaceutical corporation Eli Lilly over its off-label marketing for the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.
Of the $13 million the state will receive, $9.5 million will be used for a trust designed to provide grants across the state for for crisis intervention services; training and education for law enforcement personnel and health care officers; funding for patients transitioning to independent living environments; children’s mental health programs; and peer-to-peer services. The Helena Independent reports that it is supposed to be spent by 2012, but that Bullock says that it’s “not a hard and fast rule.”
AG Bullock also extracted an agreement with Eli Lilly to undertake business reforms to prevent false, misleading or deceptive advertising and promotions.
Ravalli County Attorney George Corn lauded the settlement:
“It’s a minimum five-hour trip to (the state hospital in) Warm Springs. This grant allows local communities to develop facilities and nonprofit organizations to help people suffering from a mental health crisis stay in their communities. That’s so much more humane and so much less traumatic.”
The article points out that 45,000 people in the state suffer from a severe, disabling mental illness at some point in their life. That’s one out of every five families.
Here in Missoula, City Council has discussed the lack of funds and resources (i.e., doctors and councilors, beds that used to be held at St. Pat’s) to properly address the mental health issues here in both the city and the county. Without property facilities, incidents that might benefit from mere medical facilities are relegated to the detention center where the potential for escalation can compound the matter.
Before there’s a big grab at this money, I hope that advocates can come together and assess needs and perhaps look at using these funds in a regional manner where multiple communities are able to efficiently access and utilize the resources. Can a facility or resources be centrally located to serve multiple communities? Can some sort if internship program be created to assist with increasing the long-term availability of councilors? Where needs in certain communities are lesser, can a traveling councilor program help?
What do I know? Let’s have a plan for that $9.5 million, though, before we go passing out checks. That’s all.