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New bill in Salem seeks to tackle mental health crisis

KTVZ

A new bill in the Oregon House is targeting the state’s mental health crisis.

House Bill 2831 aims to provide peer centers for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

If passed, the bill would establish three different centers across the state to start the program.

Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Roseburg, introduced the legislation. He told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday not only would the “peer respite” centers be much more financially responsible,but also provide a different alternative other then a county jail or hospital.

“We are trying to break the cycle by giving them some housing, and that’s the missing element that we don’t have — the housing, the overnight stay,” Hayden said. “This pilot project is short-term, so that they can connect to longer-term solutions outside of our institution of the state hospital, or outside of our prison system.”

Hayden’s working to get bipartisan support for the bill and hopes it’ll go to committee in the coming days.

The law would allocate more than $2 million from the general fund to the Oregon Health Authority to open the centers.

The plan is to put one in Portland, one in Southern Oregon and one in Central/ Eastern Oregon, but no there are no more specifics beyond that. If the program’s successful, it could expand.

KTVZ News Team

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