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Dane County officials announce new mental health, addiction recovery initiatives for 2020

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DANE COUNTY, Wis. - Dane County officials announced two mental health and addiction recovery initiatives they're pushing for the 2020 county budget.

According to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, the initiatives would add $865,000 to a community-based mental health treatment and services budget of $63.5 million.

The first is a $500,000 grant designed to enhance mental health and addiction recovery services in the county.

The C.J. Tubbs Fund for Hope, Healing & Recovery is named for the son of Dane County Department Director of Emergency Management Charles Tubbs. According to a news release, C.J. Tubbs had mental health issues in his early 20s and treated them with drugs and alcohol. He died earlier this year.

"[My wife] Cindy and I and our whole family are sincerely grateful to the community of Dane County for making this fund available to individuals with mental health and addiction illnesses," said Charles Tubbs. "It is time we end the shame and isolation that is caused by the stigma of mental illness. Our entire community is being affected by this and it will take all of us to make a difference."

The grants will be awarded early next year to those who can best provide direct assistance to those suffering from severe mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction.

The proposal also includes $20,000 to create the End Deaths by Despair Coalition. Dane County will partner with Safe Communities to review what strategies are working and look into potential new ideas to reduce the risk of preventable deaths like suicide and drug overdoses.

An additional $200,000 will be set aside to bolster mental health services for older populations.

The county is also looking into establishing a Mental Health Court, which could better link those with mental health issues in the criminal justice system to resources focused on treatment and rehabilitation.

Parisi's full 2020 budget proposal will be released Oct. 1.

You can follow FOX 47's Michelle Carolla for the latest on addiction issues on The Addiction Front.

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