A Mankato Democrat is fully supporting an effort championed by his colleague from across the river, which would fund a pilot project in the Mankato School District that would increase mental health support for at risk youth.

The bill authored by DFL Representative Clark Johnson of North Mankato would create a family therapy program for students aged 11-to-18, with services provided in school, at home, or in juvenile correctional facilities.

Mankato Democrat Representative Jack Considine said he, Johnson, and state Senator Nick Frentz met with District 77 officials before the session began, and school leaders developed the idea.

“They developed a comprehensive plan with law enforcement, with mental health professionals, with school counselors and social workers, with the probation department,” he explained.

Considine feels it’s a solid plan, and could go from Mankato pilot project to a statewide effort easily because, “It’s a collaborative effort with people in the community and it’s really a good plan. It could be replicated in other parts of the state. It deals with identifying problems and working with kids before things actually get to a crisis level.”

Considine is co-author on the bill. Frentz is working on companion legislation in the Senate. It has not yet come up for a hearing.