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Action Alert

Feb. 22, 2018

Forest Lake Hearing on PRTF Set for Feb. 26

The Forest Lake City Council will be voting on authorizing the development of a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) on Monday, February 26 at 7 p.m., at the Forest Lake City Hall. At the last meeting, despite only hearing testimony in support of the PRTF, the city council expressed opposition to the PRTF and deferred a final vote on the issue to a future meeting - which we learned today is Monday.

A PRTF is a children's residential treatment facility that provides mental health care for children and youth up to age 22 (so long as they were admitted to the facility when they were 21). PRTFs provide active treatment every day of the week and are less intensive than hospital level of care but more intensive than current residential treatment facilities.

The PRTF in Forest Lake will be a vital part of our children's mental health system. In Washington County alone, 20% of children had to go out-of-state to receive residential treatment in 2016 and 2017. Statewide, roughly 300 children go out of state every year to receive treatment. This is unacceptable. NAMI Minnesota worked hard to advocate for this level of care - care that is needed by children in our state. We can't let NIMBY or not-in-my-back-yard stop the development of this PRTF in Forest Lake!

It's important to note that the Planning Commission approved it. Time and time again we have seen this happen where a facility to treat children or adults with mental illnesses is approved by the city's planning commission only to be voted down by a city council.  This same track of land could be zoned for a nursing home or mobile home park. The city council members aren't saying why they are opposing it other than saying vague things like we want to finish our big picture planning.

The Forest Lake City Council needs to hear voices in support of the PRTF. Children living with a mental illness are counting on you. We need every NAMI member - no matter where you live - to send an email to the Forest Lake city council in support of the PRTF. This program will serve many children in our state and is needed. You can start with this:

My name is ___________ and I am a NAMI member and am a resident of (insert city or county). I am writing to urge you to support the construction of a PRTF in Forest Lake.

(share your story about mental illness if you would like)

Children with a serious mental illness need the level of services that will be provided by a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility. It's a level that does not currently exist and children are sent to other states away from their family.

I urge you to support the PRTF project to meet the needs of Minnesota's children and youth with mental illnesses.

Send your email to: city.council@ci.forest-lake.mn.us

We also need NAMI members to attend the city council meeting on Monday February 26th at 7 PM at the Forest Lake City Hall. A big crowd will send the message loud and clear that Minnesotans support developing a PRTF. If you can attend this meeting, show up and/or contact Sam Smith as soon as possible. The address is: 1408 Lake St S, Forest Lake, MN 55025

Thank you for speaking up for children and youth living with a mental illness!