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State Senator Steve O'Ban
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Republican state lawmakers unveil proposals to improve mental health care

(AP)

A group of Republican state lawmakers has unveiled several proposals to beef up mental health care in our state.

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State Senator Steve O’Ban is behind three of the five bills announced Wednesday, including one that would allow family members of adults struggling with addiction or mental illness to petition the court for temporary guardianship.

“They have the power working closely with mental health care professionals to make decisions for that loved one, to get them that inpatient care, even if they don’t think they need it or want it,” said O’Ban.

That includes sending them to rehab or detox. Other proposals include reforms to get more mental and addiction treatment workers in our state, building facilities for civil commitment patients to get them out of Western State hospital, and expanding student access to counselors by allowing tele-treatment via video sessions.

“You don’t want to keep shipping them off to Western State Hospital hundreds of miles away in some cases,” O’Ban said. “You want to keep them where their family is, where their health care provider is.”

Senator Steve O’Ban says another proposal would build community mental health care facilities around the state to focus on treatment of civilly committed patients.

Another bill would ban the release of violent offenders into neighborhoods and adult family homes.

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