Texas House looks to bring more mental health services to schools

Texas House looks to bring more mental health services to schools


A DOZEN HURT.ERIN:GOOD EVENING, I’M ERIN CARGILE.A STATE REPORT SAYS ONE IN FIVE CHILDREN HAVE SOME TYPE OF MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER. LAWMAKERS ARE LOOKING AT WAYS TO HELP… STARTING WITH THE PLACE KIDS SPEND THE MOST TIME — SCHOOL.KXAN’S POLITICAL REPORTER PHIL PRAZAN EXPLAINS. DESPITE THE SERENE SETTING AT AISD’S CROCKETT HIGH SCHOOL… TEENAGERS STILL STRUGGLE WITH DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, DRUGS AND ALCOHOL.THAT’S WHEN DR. ELIZABETH MINNE COMES TO HELP. SHE RUNS AN OUTPATIENT MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC HERE AND TWO OTHER HIGH SCHOOLS IN ORDER TO GET TO ISSUES EARLY. “IT COULD POTENTIALLY CHANGE THE COURSE OF THAT YOUNG PERSON’S LIFE.” IT STARTED FIVE YEARS AGO WITH ONLY HER. AT CROCKETT, SHE ADDED TWO THERAPISTS AND A TEAM OF GRADUATE STUDENTS. SHE SAYS CLASS DISRUPTION HAS GONE DOWN, ATTENDANCE HAS GONE UP. “THIS IS A PLACE TO VENT BUT THIS IS ALSO A PLACE TO DEVELOP SKILLS SO THEY CAN BE EFFECTIVE AT SCHOOL, AT HOME, AND IN LIFE.”THEY SEE AROUND 20 STUDENTS A DAY BUT HOPE TO EXPAND TO ALL 130 AISD SCHOOLS. BUT THE LACK OF FUNDING AND RESOURCES HOLDS IT UP.”THE DEMAND IS HUGE AND WE’RE JUST CONSTANTLY TRYING TO FIND THE RESOURCES SO WE CAN HIRE MORE THERAPISTS MEETING THE NEEDS OF ALL THE STUDENTS HERE.”BUT THE TEXAS HOUSE HOPES TO COMBAT A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IN TEXAS LOOK TO REQUIRE MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, IMPLEMENT MENTAL HEALTH LESSONS IN PHYSCIAL EDUCATION, AND GIVE TEACHERS MORE TRAINING ON HOW TO SPOT ISSUES.”SO THAT WE’RE ALL WORKING TOGETHER TO PICK UP ON THOSE EARLY WARNING SIGNS.”MINNIE HOPES MORE ATTENTION WILL MAKE TEXAS CLASSROOMS HEALTHIER.PHIL PRAZAN.KXAN NEWS.ERIN:CRITICS OF THE MEASURES SAY BECAUSE THIS IS A TIGHT BUDGET YEAR, THE STATE MIGHT NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENT AND FUND NEW PROGRAMS.A LOT OF THE WORK GETTING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN SCHOOLS IS IN HOUSE BILL 11. BUT OTHER MAJOR REFORMS ARE ALSO MAKING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE.HOUSE BILL 12 WOULD ALLOW AND ENCOURAGE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES BE AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE IN THE COURT SYSTEM.HOUSE BILL 13 WOULD CREATE A 50-MILLION DOLLAR GRANT PROGRAM FOR REGIONAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND áCOMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH

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