Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, filed a bill this week to strengthen mental health in the state.
SB 10 establishes the Mental Health Care Consortium to foster collaboration among health-related institutions with the goal of improving early identification and access to mental health services, addressing psychiatry workforce issues, promoting and coordinating mental health research and strengthening judicial training on juvenile mental health, according to a news release from Nelson’s office. SB 10 is nearly identical to her SB 63, which was filed in November and has since been designated as a Senate priority.
“I appreciate my colleagues for signing on as joint authors and the lieutenant governor for designating this as a priority issue,” Nelson said, noting that all 31 members of the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors. “This initiative focuses heavily on identifying at-risk youth, getting them screened and into treatment so that they don’t present a danger to themselves or others.”
Specifically, SB 10 will:
- Create a consortium to help coordinate state mental health initiatives across Texas’ health-related institutions of higher education;
- Establish the Child Psychiatry Access Program (CPAP), which will allow pediatricians to consult with psychiatry hubs at Texas medical schools;
- Establishes a program allowing youth to be screened for mental health issues through telemedicine.
SB 1, the appropriations act, allocates $7.5 billion across 21 state agencies to address mental health with $100 million in new funding dedicated to SB 10, according to Nelson’s office.