Health & Science

Texas Lawmakers Hear Mental Health Recommendations

Harvey ushered in a new wave of attention to mental health needs, but advocates say statewide needs are still not being met

In this screen capture of a Texas House of Representatives Committee on Public Health hearing, lawmakers hear from mental health advocates on May 17, 2018.

As more attention turns to mental health care for kids affected by Hurricane Harvey, Texas lawmakers are inviting recommendations on how to help kids across the state struggling with similar issues.

Rates of mental health issues typically climb following disasters like Harvey, and advocates say that trend has mostly held true along the Gulf Coast.

Texas officials established a mental health task force just after Harvey, and at a Texas House of Representatives Committee on Public Health hearing, advocates called on lawmakers to devote more resources to mental health support statewide. 

“What Texas needs to do is take the experience and the lessons learned and the work of this task force and expand it statewide,” Josette Saxton, Director of Mental Health Policy at Texans Care for Children told, told Houston Public Media.

Saxton said Harvey ushered in a new wave of attention to mental health needs, particularly in schools, but statewide needs are still not being met.

“We have this patchwork of services and supports that are available in some schools but not in others,” Saxton said. “We also don’t keep track of data of what is being offered in schools.”

Saxton said she and other advocates to see those concerns come up in the 2019 legislative session.

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Davis Land

Davis Land

General Assignments Reporter

Davis Land is a general assignment reporter for Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media/Transom.org in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a...

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