The state of Maryland is launching a public phone call program for the purpose of connecting people facing mental health issues with mental health service providers. The Thomas Bloom Raskin Act was unanimously passed through Maryland’s General Assembly this year and will take effect July 1st. The Act is named after U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin’s son, who died last year on December 31st, after a long fight with depression.
“My family is just really happy that Tommy is being honored in this way. Let’s hope we get to a place where we don’t lose anybody else,” Raskin said. This bill was the first bill Governor Hogan signed into law after the General Assembly session this spring.
The opt-in program will be run by 211 Maryland. Call 211 press 1. This is a free and confidential service operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It provides information service for individuals and family members facing mental illness and/or substance abuse. “Under the new law, any Marylander can sign up to receive periodic calls from 211 crisis counselors. The counselor can connect the person with services in the community if the person is interested, or just chat if everything appears to be fine.” according to the Washington Post. The main purpose is to have these check ups periodically with the people who need them, rather than wait for a phone call during a crisis.