Austin, TX, January 12, 2016
President Obama announced last week a plan that will bolster mental health care, adding $500 million to improve access to mental health treatment. Although it is unclear right now exactly where the money would go and how it will be spent, many advocates welcome the increase as a step in the right direction to start addressing the mental health crisis in America.
Between 2009 and 2011, states slashed mental health funding by $4 billion, limiting the ability of individuals living with mental illness to access critical treatment. Now many lawmakers, including leaders in Texas, are recognizing the huge unmet need and acknowledging the need for legislation to address the problem.
Last session Texas legislators took a step forward by increasing state funding for mental health services by $200 million. More recently, Speaker Straus announced the formation of the House Select Committee on Mental Health to look closely at state behavioral health services for children and adults.
Texas is making progress, but there is still much work to be done. We will continue to monitor recent mental health legislation during the interim, and direct advocacy efforts toward ensuring that Texans living with mental illness have access to the care they need to achieve recovery.