Texas continues efforts to get mental healthcare to underserved areas


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Mental health issues in populations can lead to increased crime, increased poverty and lower health conditions. Texas mental health resources are scattered throughout the state and rural and inner city areas are undeserved. Most areas in Texas do not have an acceptable number of mental health professionals and access, according to industry standards.

The Select Committee on Mental Health was specifically created to tackle the issue. On Thursday, the committee—headed by Chair Four Price, R-Amaraillo—met to discuss on how the state wants to take a holistic approach regarding mental health treatment. Price says the committee wants to learn as much as possible from healthcare professionals then recommend solutions from both a funding and policy angle ahead of the 2017 legislative session next January.

More than 500,000 Texans struggle with serious mental illness. More than 1.5 million Texans are dependent on alcohol or drugs and thousands of Texans commit suicide every year.

Earlier this week, the committee heard from experts on insurance and criminal justice mental health professionals.

On KXAN News at 5 p.m., Phil Prazan takes a look at how a local Austin program is bringing services to an undeserved area.