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Texas better positioned to support children’s mental health

The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and The Hackett Center for Mental Health are working with providers, advocates, and state leaders who remain focused on the well-being of Texas children, despite the pandemic.

Well in advance of this current crisis, Gov. Greg Abbott, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), made the mental health of our state’s children and families an emergency item during the last legislative session.

While the stresses and impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic have yet to be fully realized, the effects of disasters like Hurricane Harvey and the tragic events at Santa Fe High School helped spur us to action during last year’s legislative session. As a result, Texas is in a much better position to help our young people deal with this current crisis.

Most prominently, the legislature allocated nearly $100 million to establish the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, which is fostering collaboration among our state’s medical schools with a focus on the well-being of Texas children, including two broad-based supports:

  • The Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN), which enables pediatricians and primary care providers to work with child psychiatry consultation hubs at leading medical schools to reach timely, accurate treatment decisions.
  • Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT), which – at the direction of parents – will provide schoolchildren with access to service providers via telemedicine and telehealth to help identify the mental health needs of students and provide assistance accessing services.

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