As Texas Governor Greg Abbott has made mental health one of his top priorities for the 2019 Texas legislative session, multiple bills have been filed that focus on improving mental health care in the state.
Senate Bill 10
On March 5, 2019, the Texas Senate gave unanimous approval to a bill that was designed to identify children with mental health needs and direct them to treatment. The bill would create regional mental health hubs and focuses on the safety of children. The bill creates the Texas Mental Health Care Consortium which provides access to psychiatric professionals associated with the state's medical schools that can better address a child's needs. In addition, the bill would create the Child Psychiatry Access Network which would connect pediatricians with mental health experts who could consult on treatment options. This would be an important step because pediatricians and other physicians are usually the first medical professionals to recognize a mental health issue in a child but may not always be equipped to treat the issue. Senate Bill 10 will now go before the Texas House.
House Bill 10
House Bill 10, filed by State Representative Senfronia Thompson, seeks to increase and improve mental health services to children. The bill calls for an increase in the number of child and teen psychiatrists and nurses in the state. It also establishes a telemedicine program that would connect doctors and school nurses to mental health professionals. In addition, the bill would create the Texas Mental and Behavioral Health Research Institute which would conduct research into mental health treatment options.
House Bills 198 and 204
State Representative Shawn Thierry filed two bills in the House that seek to provide more mental health education to children in public schools. The proposed curriculum would recognize the correlation between mental and physical health. The aim of the curriculum would be to provide children with coping skills and to recognize the signs of when they, or a classmate, might be in crisis.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.