Republican lawmakers propose bills to address mental health needs

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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Republican lawmakers are proposing four bills to improve access to mental health services.

"Those of us with severe mental illness have a tough time and are often ostracized in the community," Brian Karman, a member of Painting Pathways, said.

At Painting Pathways Clubhouse, everyone is like family.

From daily lunch meals to the support from staff, this is the only mental health clubhouse in Manitowoc County.

One of the bills would provide a grant up to $50,000 to mental health clubhouses.

"We really solely depend on donations, fundraising efforts and grants that we write," Painting Pathways Clubhouse Executive Director Jennifer Schmoldt said.

Bill sponsor Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) said 1 in 5 people are dealing with mental health problems.

"That doesn't mean that 1 in 5 people have mental health issues but their family members do, and we've had it in our families, friends, and we've dealt with it," Rep. Tittl said.

Three other bills regarding tax deductions for psychiatrists to practice in Wisconsin, a psychology update, and funds to help kids with the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club deal with trauma are being proposed as well.

"Somebody has to be a spokesman for them, and somebody has to be an advocate for them," Tittl said.

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