Beshear signs two bills expanding mental health access

Beshear Writers Day

FRANKFORT, Ky. – On Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear signed two bills to help residents of Kentucky, including first-responders, receive access to mental health services.

The governor first signed House Bill 127, which expands access to assisted outpatient treatment. A release by the governor’s office stated this form of mental health treatment is a partnership between the courts, the health care system and Kentuckians, and it will allow the courts to order outpatient care for individuals with severe mental illness.

Since 2017, Kentucky, along with 47 other states, has offered court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment, according to the release. Beshear’s office further stated this method of court-ordered mental health care ensures that individuals with severe mental illness get the treatment they need when they are not capable of seeking it out on their own. The release stated Tim’s Law also allows individuals with severe mental illness to receive treatment without being involuntarily hospitalized.

HB 127 expands Tim’s Law in three ways:

It allows for expanded access to those who would benefit from outpatient treatment by modifying the criteria; it requires a more thorough evaluation of individuals who may receive court-ordered treatment and it helps cover additional treatment costs necessary to ensure successful re-entry and participation in the community.

Beshear also signed House Bill 562, which helps first responders get the mental health care they may need. The bill allows peace officers and firefighters to take 48 hours of leave after facing a critical incident, such as car accidents or the death of a colleague.