Commissioner Podulke appointed to Governor’s mental health subcommittee

Talia Milavetz
Created: February 13, 2020 07:14 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS)--In her lifetime, she has been a schoolteacher, foster care program manager, in-home family therapist and a stained glass artist. 

"I love to draw and I love color and this is like painting with light," said Podulke. 


It’s a hobby that lets her complete a project from start to finish.

"I don't always have an ending to things with mental health," she said.

But, she often has a new beginning. 

"This chance for me now to work at this but at a legislative level is exciting for me," she said.  

Podulke was appointed to the Governor’s subcommittee on children’s mental health. She is serving as the representative for rural counties in the state, where kids face different challenges getting help. 

"When they get into a crisis it takes a long time for someone to get to them. If their family can’t handle it and they need help it can take hours for someone to find them," she said.

If they do get treatment, it can often be far away. 

"If you send them more than a hundred miles away, families can't keep in contact with their kids. The kids may get better and stabilize but we haven't done anything to change the family setting and the skills of the parents and families,” she said. 

As part of the subcommittee, Podulke is working on a grant to develop four regional treatment centers in rural communities statewide. 

"I hope that we can actually get this grant written in a way that's acceptable to legislators and that they will give us the go ahead to put out a request for proposal for small communities," she said.

A crisis center is already set to be developed in Rochester. In 2019, the Minnesota Department of Human Services awarded $5 million in funding to build a mental health crisis center in Rochester, Minnesota. This facility will serve 10 counties in southeast Minnesota and construction is expected to begin this spring.

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