With 1 in 5 Texas children with mental disorders, funding increases debated


LAWMAKERS IN THE HOUSE SAY THEY’RE WILLING TO PUT UP MILLIONS OF MORE DOLLARS THIS SESSION- FOR MENTAL HEALTH.BUT IS IT ENOUGH? A NEW STATE REPORT SAYS ONE IN FIVE TEXAS CHILDREN.. HAS SOME FORM OF MENTAL ILLNESS. KXAN’S PHIL PRAZAN TAKES AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT ONE IDEA TO HELP IDENTIFY AND TREAT CHILDREN WHO NEED IT MOST. AS A PEDIATRICTIAN RYAN VAN RAMSHORST IS REQUIRED TO GIVE ONE MENTAL HEALTH QUESTIONAIRE SCREENING TO HIS PATIENTS BETWEEN 12 AND 18 YEARS OLD. TAX DOLLARS PAY FOR IT THROUGH MEDICAID.BUT ONE TIME MIGHT NOT BE ENOUGH.”A CHILD MIGHT COME IN FOR A COLD BUT LATER COMES OUT DURING THAT VISIT THAT THEY HAVE SYMPTONS OF DEPRESSION, THAT PEDIATRICIAN IS GOING TO ADDRESS THAT DEPRESSION OR SCHEDULE A FOLLOW UP VISIT TO DELVE MORE INTO IT.”LAWMAKERS ARE NOW TRYING TO REQUIRE A YEARLY SCREENING.”SETTING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES UP FOR SUCCESS.” THIS SESSION THE STATE BUDGET IS TIGHT… THE WORD IS OUT THAT IF A PROGRAM OR DEPARTMENT KEEPS THE MONEY IT HAS, IT’S A VICTORY.THAT’S WHY CHAIR OF THE HOUSE SELECT-COMMITTEE ON MENTAL HEALTH IS HAPPY THE PROPOSED BUDGET HAS MORE THAN $150 MILLION DOLLAR INCREASE TO MENTAL HEALTH PURPOSES.”MOST MENTAL ILLNESS WILL MANIFEST AT A YOUNG AGE AND IF TREATED EARLY AND INTENSELY, THAT’S WHERE THE GREATEST CHANCE OF SUCCESS ACTUALLY LIES.”NOW HE’LL TRY AND CONVICNE HIS COLLEAGUES THAT PAYING FOR MORE REGULAR MENTAL HEALTH SCREENINGS THROUGH MEDICAID – WILL SAVE THE STATE MONEY IN THE LONG RUN, BY KEEPING PEOPLE OUT OF JAIL AND STATE HOSPITALS.”JUST HAVING A LIMITED, YOU KNOW, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SCREENING AT AN EARLY AGE – PROBABLY ISN’T SUFFICIENT.”HE’S THE JOINT- AUTHOR OF A BIPARTISAN BILL TO DO THAT…AND HE’LL BE WORKING THIS SESSION TO PASS IT.PHIL

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