Policy UpdatesTexas House Committees on Public Health and Public Education

Texas House Committees on Public Health and Public Education

SUMMARY – During the 85th Legislative Interim, in June 2018, the Texas House Committees on Public Health and Public Education met to hear testimony. President and CEO Andy Keller, PhD, was invited testimony and presented on “Children’s Mental Health in the Wake of Santa Fe”.

Dr. Keller also provided details from MMHPI’s Harris County Mental Health Services for Children, Youth, and Families assessment in 2017, which described an ideal mental health system for children:

  1. Helping local schools identify needs and link to help:
    – Early, before situations become harder to treat; and
    – Fast, when a severe need arises and expertise is essential to maintain safety and functioning;
  2. Helping pediatric primary care providers find and treat mental illness early when it is mild to moderate; and
  3. Making intensive treatment available to children and youth with the most severe needs – full PTSD, complex depression / bipolar disorder, OCD, and psychosis.

The Link Between Violence and Mental Illness

 

  • Mild to moderate mental illness is not a risk factor for violence; other factors drive violence (substance use, criminogenic risk).
  • Severe mental illness drives slightly more risk (3 in 100 versus between 1 and 2 in 100).
  • Specific subsets are at higher risk
    • 20,000 children and youth with the most severe needs and the fewest economic and family resources
    • 900 youth with new psychotic disorders each year are at the highest risk