KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Leaders Seeking Cash, Legislation To Improve Mental Health Care

Minnesota, Florida, Illinois are directing money to provide more mental health care as Massachusetts is taking another look at background checks for gun sales. 

MPR: Dayton Budget Would Boost School-Based Mental Health Funding
State lawmakers will begin debate on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's budget this week. ... The governor wants to double state funding for mental health programs in schools ... [to] pay for independent mental health professionals to support existing school programs. Schools cannot do everything for students, and they should not have to, said Sue Abderholden of the National Alliance on Mental Health. But schools are an ideal place for children to get mental health treatment, she said (Shenoy, 1/28).

The Miami Herald: Miami-Dade Teachers To Receive Mental Illness Training
Starting in March, the school district will begin training each of its middle school and high school teachers to identify early-warning signs of mental illness through a program called "Typical or Troubled?" ... Catching those symptoms becomes even more important in Florida, where state officials recently testified at a state House committee hearing that two-thirds of mentally ill people go untreated (Smiley, 1/27).

The Associated Press: Advocates Warn Of 'Broken' Mental Health System
Illinois mental health advocates say more attention -- and money -- must be directed to a system they describe as overwhelmed and ill-equipped to identify or care for the mentally ill, including someone intent on carrying out a violent act. Between 2009 and 2012, Illinois slashed funding for community mental health programs by more than 30 percent -- more than all but three other states, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Even before those cuts, Illinois’ per capita spending on mental health was about $85 -- well below the national average of about $123 per person, the group found (Burnett, 1/27).

Boston Globe: Mass. Keeps Mental Health Data From FBI Gun Checks
Massachusetts for more than a decade has not provided mental health records to an FBI database for gun background checks, the result of a 43-year-old state law prohibiting such sharing. ... The situation has sparked concerns that firearms could fall into the hands of the mentally ill. Governor Deval Patrick has twice tried unsuccessfully to get legislative approval for the sharing of mental health data. Both attempts failed to gain traction in the state Legislature amid opposition from gun-rights activists. The governor renewed the effort earlier this month when he proposed universal background checks that include mental health information (Uberti, 1/28).

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