Last week, following a news conference to announce a new health insurance mandate on treating children with autism, Governor John Kasich also addressed 'mental health' and it's connection to violence. He announced that five million dollars in new funding would be available to help Ohio families with intervention and counseling. WYSO's Jerry Kenney has more on the story.
In the Days following the Newtown Connecticut shootings, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (or NAMI) says their organization was inundated with calls from parents worried about their children who have mental health issues. Terry Russell is the Executive Director with NAMI's Ohio branch. He, like other mental health service providers, welcomes the new program.
Russell says NAMI is "very pleased." He adds, " I think the Governor recognized that something had to be done, and though this certainly isn't going to solve all the problems, they've come up with a program call the Crisis Stabilization for children. And really this is children, both with mental illnesses or developmentally disabled, whose behavior is such that parents just can't control behavior."
Russell says that it's unclear how the new funds will be distributed among mental health service providers, but his organization's mission is clear, and that NAMI Ohio has "over a thousand families that we are right now interacting with. When a family is in real trouble, the problem with kids, it's not just the mental health system, it with schools, criminal justice, children's services. Families are just... they just don't know what to do. So we have seventy-five people who have been trained to go with that family as an advocate and to participate in programs, whatever it takes to get the kids into service."
Russell cautions that mental illness is not at all synonymous with violence, but early detection programs like this one will be critical in preventing situations like the one in Newtown, and elsewhere.