AARP Indiana advocates for Gary’s mobile mental health unit

Posted on 03/20/23

AARP Indiana staff and volunteers are all smiles before a meeting of the Gary Common Council.

Earlier this March, AARP Indiana’s Gary team showed up to the Gary Common Council in solidarity with community members to support Council Pending Ordinance 2023-06, which dedicates $1.5 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to a Mobile Mental Health Initiative.

According to a 2022 AARP survey, 45% of the 50-plus population had been bothered by anxiety, and 34% say they had little interest or pleasure in doing things.

Additionally, 31% had feelings of depression or hopelessness.

The numbers clearly show that mental health is a serious matter for older Hoosiers.

“Mental health is a fundamental component of overall health with mental illness affecting people of all ages and incomes and can be just as debilitating as any other major medical illness,” Emily Gorman, AARP Indiana director of community engagement, stated in public testimony.

“Increased access to mental health care through a mobile mental health care program will especially benefit older residents and their emotional well-being as they adapt to changes in lifestyle, mobility, and other issues that accompanies aging.”

Community members could dial 988 – the new mental health crisis line available in the state – to have a team respond to a person in crisis.

This ordinance passed unanimously, with approximately 150 community members attending the Gary Common Council meeting and vote.

“We were proud to stand with the community and organizations like Faith in Indiana,” Gorman said. “They were truly champions of this ordinance and the 50-plus in Gary.”

Read more about the ordinance in the Northwest Indiana Times and the Indiana General Assembly’s Senate Bill 1, which could mean more funding to address mental health in Indiana.

This story is provided by AARP Indiana. Visit the AARP Indiana page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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