Dear Governor Abbott,

Dear Governor Abbott,

I couldn’t help but see your tweet last week:

Clearly money is not an issue for the state of Texas at this time… which for someone who works in mental health and education, I am excited to hear…. I am less excited to hear that your only thought is to cut taxes (I know I shouldn’t assume, but I do… I assume you think everything in the state is supper good, so we don’t need the excess).

I want to come from a place of helping you understand what is happening. Did you know Texas is 51st in mental health care access (that is all 50 states and DC… yes we are dead last)? Shocking, I know! Especially since, after every major act of violence, you (and many others in the state) blame mental health. I would think if mental health is the concern, we would (as a state) make it a priority.

Since working in a district within not only mental health, but also the police department, I have a unique view of not only what is happening with students, but also the needs that arise daily. Threat assessment is a state mandate (not that it is not a needed mandate, it is actually proactive, and if done correctly (correctly is the key) can assist so many students in need), but when a student is found with homicidal ideation, it is almost impossible to find the student help. Did you know many psychiatric hospitals can refuse to admit a student based on homicidal ideation? If you didn’t, it is ok, most don’t know. It is hard enough to find a bed for someone with high levels of suicide ideation, but forget it if it is homicidal.

The state of mental health care for those students most in need in Texas is dire. While most people will never come in contact with this reality, it does not mean it does not exist. I also think there is a misunderstanding of what it means to actually provide robust mental health care access. This summer I was speaking to a group of legislative aides. When I mentioned the state about us being 51st in access, one older gentleman told me I was wrong, because in the last legislative session a few million dollars was allocated for mental health. That was the moment I knew how disconnected so many who are making the laws and decisions are from the actually realty of what happens on a daily basis.

So before you start saying all the money goes back to tax breaks (fox news reported we have over $33 billion surplus), I ask (more like beg) you to talk to those on the frontlines dealing with mental health concerns everyday. I promise ignoring it will not make it go away.

One response to “Dear Governor Abbott,”

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