Seventh District Rep. Jacqueline Maycumber (R-Republic) has reintroduced a bill in the Washington Legislature that would establish a pilot project for statewide mobile mental health crisis intervention.

House Bill 1661 (HB 1661) would create two emergency crisis assistance teams designed to support community-based public safety and provide intervention services for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction.

"What really needs to happen in those moments during a mental health crisis is to have a mental health provider be there to really examine the root cause of the situation," says Maycumber. "The communities in the state which have the ability to have a mental healthcare provider within their law enforcement response teams really benefit because it offers a long-term social aspect to get that individual help."

The teams would be organized and operated under the Washington Military Department, who would offer funding grants to one eligible city both west and east of the Cascade mountains.

The project has a projected cost of $3.5 million over the next three years, and Maycumber says that investment is nominal considering the impact she expects the program to have on Washington's mental health crisis.

"Sometimes we do bureaucracy big with hundreds-of-millions of dollars and nothing ever touches the ground, but this is something that has actually worked in our area and I'd really like to build it from the bottom up."

Last year, HB 1661 stalled in the House and failed to advance to the Senate.

It was reintroduced by resolution on Jan. 8 and is currently with the House Appropriations Committee.

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