Dubois County Sheriff Donny Lampert says something needs to be done to address ongoing issues with mental health locally and statewide.
Lampert says mental health is often an overlooked problem, especially with those who go to jail as many of them struggle with drug and alcohol addictions and aren’t getting help before they are incarcerated. Lampert says that lack of help is often the first thing he sees when a person is brought in:
Lampert says the current system is flawed as help in the form of programs such as work release is more reactive. Lampert says having reactive programs is good while the person is in jail, but without proactive efforts, those programs often don’t translate:
Lampert says he has gotten several calls from local people who are asking for help before they wind up in jail. He says problems often begin when those people look for help, but either need an insurance card or have to pay up to $2,800 to get into a mental health center.
Lampert believes there is a need for more accessible mental health centers, including possibly putting one in Dubois County. He says though mental health centers are the best solution, state funding will likely be the biggest hurdle to that happening:
Currently, the closest mental health center to Dubois County is Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare in Boonville. Lampert says the centers would fill a role once played by state hospitals, all of which lost significant funding in recent years.