Senate report: Investing in mental health and education to help Minnesotans – Albert Lea Tribune

Senate report by Gene Dornink

Friends and neighbors,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and together we can work to end the stigma around mental health issues. The pandemic has had various impacts on our lives. We’ve all faced unforeseen challenges over the past three years: economic uncertainty, supply chain issues, school closures and everything in between. The pandemic has negatively affected the mental health of many people and created new barriers for those already suffering from mental illness.

Gene Dornink

My fellow Republicans and I in the Senate are making investments to ensure Minnesotans get the care they need. A proven program is Mobile Crisis Services, which are teams of mental health professionals working with people in their homes. Mobile crisis services provide rapid response and work to assess the individual, resolve crisis situations and connect people to needed services. We are also implementing a pilot program for mental health urgent care facilities. These facilities would allow medical professionals to quickly provide mental health care and create mental health “emergency rooms” for Minnesotans in mental health crisis.

While adults have reported mental health issues stemming from the pandemic, our children have been hit by school closures and distance learning, inability to interact closely with friends, stress and loneliness. . To address the growing mental health issues of our children, we are investing in school-related mental health grants. These school-linked clinical mental health treatments help improve outcomes for children with a mental health diagnosis and improve the identification of mental health problems.

After years of COVID-related restrictions, we have learned that school closures and distance learning have had a devastating impact on our children’s education. Currently, only about half of students read at grade level. We need to provide teachers and students with the tools and resources to recover from past learning losses.

The Senate passed a law to invest in literary improvement. It is essential that our children know how to read. One program with over a decade of proven success is the LETRS teaching program. This program provides teachers with the tools to master the fundamentals of teaching reading. By working together, we can increase reading skills to 90% within five years using the tools we already have that have been proven to work.

Every Minnesotan deserves to have a quality education and live in a safe community. The Senate has invested in recruiting new officers and retaining the men and women of our community. We are also increasing penalties for criminal activity to send a clear message that repeated and violent offenses will not be tolerated.

I want to thank our law enforcement officers for working to keep our communities safe and our educators for continuing to shape the next generation. We appreciate your hard work and dedication, especially over the past few years. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, I also want to thank all the moms who work tirelessly to make our communities better!

Next week, the House and Senate will meet in conference committees to negotiate legislation passed by each chamber. I have the honor to serve on the conference committee on agriculture and housing, and I will work hard to ensure that we pass meaningful legislation that helps greater Minnesota. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance. Give me at 651-296-5240 or email me at

Republican Gene Dornink is the senator for District 27.

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