About Minnesota Heals

A step toward addressing trauma and restoring humanity in Minnesota.

Over the past few years, Minnesota has been at the center of contentious -- and very important -- policy debates about the future of public safety in our communities. These conversations have too often caused residents to feel the problems of community violence and officer-involved deaths are insurmountable. We all may have different visions for what a safe and thriving community would look like and how we would accomplish that vision. 
However, we can find common ground in recognizing the humanity at the center of these debates. Let's build empathy for families that have lost loved ones to violence. Let's provide resources so our law enforcement officers can access mental health resources that keep them well. And let's help communities heal after they have experienced trauma. 
We can begin building back humanity, community strength and officer wellness by including the Minnesota Heals program in the state budget. 
 
Minnesota Heals is part of Governor Tim Walz’s proposed Department of Public Safety budget. The proposal would provide ongoing funding and services to three areas: support for families of victims of officer-involved deaths, community healing after a traumatic event and wellness services for first responders. These programs follow recommendations from the State of Minnesota Working Group on Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters. 
The Governor recommends the state dedicate $4.2 million annually to create the three-part Minnesota Heals effort at the Office of Justice Programs. The three-pronged program would promote healing through:
  • Family Trauma Services ($1.4 million). The funds will support families affected by an officer-involved death. Currently, many families cannot access victim and reparations services. This fund will allow the Office of Justice Programs to support affected families with cultural healing, trauma and mental health counseling and funeral or burial costs.
  • Community Healing Grants ($1.4 million). These funds will strengthen community resources to support individual or group healing following traumatic events, such as homicides, natural disasters or police-involved deaths. This program would facilitate and train local residents to provide trauma-informed responses that are culturally aware. The goal is to build local networks to directly facilitate community healing. 
  • First Responder Healing ($1.4 million). The goal is to establish a statewide mental health and wellness program for first responders. Currently, these services are provided through volunteer groups. This funding would allow the state to establish a statewide Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) coordinator and fund a mental health and wellness program for first responders. Together, these programs would ensure that first responders can access support if they have experienced a traumatic event in the workplace. The program mirrors successful efforts in other states and would serve responding law enforcement officers as well as firefighters, 911 dispatchers, and EMS providers.

Read the specific budget proposal here: Governor's Revised Public Safety Budget Proposal (Minnesota Heals is on pages 26-27). 
The Minnesota House included $1.5 million a year for Minnesota Heals in its omnibus judiciary and public safety omnibus proposal ($500,000 for each program), while the Senate did not include funding for Minnesota Heals in its omnibus budget proposal. 
 
The Public Safety and Judiciary Omnibus Conference Committee is now meeting to reconcile their budget differences and develop a compromise proposal. Here is the link to the conference committee spreadsheet, which details the Minnesota Heals program on page 4.
Below is a video clip of Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington describing the Minnesota Heals proposal during his March 15, 2021 testimony to the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee. Note that the proposed budget amounts were amended after this hearing: